1. Practice good personal hygiene
- Sneeze into elbow.
- Wash hands often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Stay at least 2 metres apart from people not in your family unit.
- This includes smoko! Try to have smoko outside, not in the shed or staff rooms if possible and if you must, make sure chairs are two metres apart.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects (e.g. door handles, steering wheels):
- Keep a container of teat wipes in lots of different locations (e.g. in the tractor and utes) and encourage people to use them - not just to wipe their hands, but to clean their phones and other surfaces often.
- Wipe the wheel and stick shift down before and after you use them. Tractor cabs especially are little incubators! Keep the windows of all vehicles open if possible.
- Wear gloves during milking. Ensure that you remove gloves when leaving the dairy to go home or to other areas of the farm. After you remove your gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- If possible one vehicle per person. If not possible then gloves in the vehicle (e.g. tractor) and wipe down steering wheel and controls before leaving.
- Use technology rather than meeting in person, e.g. WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Facetime, Skype etc.
- If anyone feels unwell, they need to stay at home.
- Stay in your "bubble" if the country is in lockdown.
2. Wear a face covering
At Alert Level 2 you are encouraged to wear face coverings when you cannot maintain physical distance from others especially in crowded indoor places. See covid19.govt.nz.
For those still at Alert Level 4, you must stay home other than for essential movement.
The government encourage you to wear a face covering and keep 2 metres distance from others when leaving your home or farm.
Because farms are an essential service and can operate at Alert Level 4, it is mandatory when a contractor or external service provider comes on farm to work with you, that the hosts and contractors are wearing face coverings. This will not only help you keep your farm bubble safe, but will mean your service providers are able to continue their essential work.
You should also wear a face covering:
- inside any Alert Level 4 businesses and services that are still open and involve customer contact, including supermarkets, supply stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, and any other farms.
- when visiting healthcare facilities
- on public transport, on flights and in taxis
3. Look after yourself
Exercise, good nutrition, sleep, healthy thinking. See the Farmstrong website.
4. Communicate with your staff
In this time of uncertainty, it’s a good idea to check in frequently with your team and understand the questions they have about the effects of COVID-19 and its potential impact on your farm.
Keep communicating regularly about what the team needs to do to keep those hygiene practices up.
Make a set of COVID-19 rules for all people on farm. Agree them. Stick to them. Print them out where staff will see them.
5. Dairy farming is an essential business
For those under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 you and all your staff are able to continue working whether people live on farm or off farm. The exceptions to this are if people have tested positive to COVID-19, or are required to be in self isolation.
When you and your staff travel to and from work, ensure you carry the following at all times:
- Identification (e.g. Drivers Licence).
- A letter from your employer confirming you are conducting Essential Business work on a farm.
↓ Download the letter template
If you are an essential worker that needs to travel between the boundary area of Alert Level 4 (Auckland and Northland) and south this letter will not apply.
Employers with essential workers needing to travel between the Auckland boundary area and south, will need get approved travel documentation issued by MBIE. To find out more go to COVID-19 updates - DairyNZ.
6. Review your list of jobs to be done
Consider whether jobs need to be done during Alert Level 3 or 4 or if they can be postponed. Some services will still be available. See the list of key support services.
7. Connecting with your main suppliers/contractors
If needing work done during Alert Level 3 or 4, check whether they are operating, taking online orders and delivery if you need supplies. Services like weed spraying, crop establishment, aerial topdressing can be done under Alert level 3. In addition, stock sales are preferably on-line but saleyards can reopen at level 3. Check with the supplier prior to ensure everything is done within the COVID restrictions.
For further advice for farms and agriculture businesses see the MPI website.
8. Do what rural communities do best – look after each other
- Check in on older relatives or vulnerable people over the phone, to make sure they have everything they need.
- Talking to friends, whānau and neighbours over the phone to see how they are and if they need support.
- Drop off essential supplies, like food, to those that can’t or won’t leave home. You can leave them at the door.
9. Think through scenarios if this alert level is extended
- How will you look after the wellbeing of yourself and the team, while keeping up with the demands of springtime?
- Reach out to DairyNZ or your other key partners if you need any support or advice.
10. If transporting calves for direct sale
If you are selling spring-born calves directly to another farmer to rear, you must adhere to safe hygiene practices and social distancing rules. If possible prepare the calves for transport and leave them in a designated collection pen. Remember to wipe down any surfaces the person collecting the calves may have touched.