4 min read
Moving Day is a big day in the farming calendar and requires good planning and communication to ensure success.
Good people help you thrive in the good times and support you in the tough ones. To help, they just need to understand what is required of them. Moving Day involves not just moving a household of stuff but a farmload of stuff too. Preparing early is important, as is communicating with your team and the people assisting you (whether contractors, friends and/or family) about your plans and your expectations of them.
It is critical that your things all leave the farm clean and disinfected to manage health and biosecurity risks. This is especially true for vehicles and machinery.
Ensure sharemilker / contract milker contracts are signed by both parties and a farm inspection with new farm owner, incoming and outgoing sharemilkers, farm manager, farm advisor has been planned.
Determine your staffing needs for your new farm, start recruiting for required staff and ensure signed employment agreements are in place, alongside signed service tenancy agreements for any employees who will live on farm.
Communicate regularly with the people on your existing farm and the people who will be on your new farm about your plans - dates, key information etc. Introduce new people to the area to the relevant businesses, local farming groups and community groups etc. Organise a welcome drink or catch up for all people on your new farm (and their families) in the first week.
Ensure staff have enough time to be prepared, pack and clean in the weeks leading up to moving. If necessary, adjust rosters and hours of work. Try to ensure people are getting enough sleep so they can make good decisions, better manage the move and be safe on the roads.
Get in touch with your insurer well before the move - there might be more things to discuss than you think. It’s a good idea to know the physical address, building details, any plant or machinery details, and the details of your sharemilking or contract milking agreement if applicable.
Pack VERY important items separately. These should travel with you, e.g. phone chargers, Sky TV remote, ipads for kids, Important documentation including passport, visa, marriage certificates, insurance policies, motor vehicle ownership documentation et
The sharemilker or contract milker is responsible for ensuring that their own house and their employees house/s have been left in a clean and tidy state.
A farm owner is responsible for ensuring that any employees they employ leave their houses in a clean and tidy state and should check the condition of all houses on their farms before any new contract milker or share milker moves in as the farm owner is ultimately responsible.
Take and record final power meter readings for all houses at both properties. Contact your utility providers (e.g. power, phone, internet, Sky etc) and ensure you will be disconnected and reconnected on the right dates.
Complete house/s inspection for any maintenance required on current farm by end of April at the latest, arrange and complete any repairs and upgrades required. Check you comply with Healthy Homes standard.
Consider whether drug testing of house/s will be required. If yes arrange contractors
Confirm with departing and new tenants their departure and arrival times so there is no cross over between parties, complete house inspection with existing tenant (sharemilker and/or employees) as soon as house/s are vacant.
Confirm if drug testing has been completed and results if applicable
Check with your insurer what obligations you have in terms of inspections and what, if any, impact this could have on your insurance cover.
Consider whether drug testing of house/s will be required. If yes, arrange contractors and discuss with farm owner. Ensure the house/s are cleaned and tidied to the standards agreed in the contract
Complete house/s inspection with employees and then farm owner as soon as house/s are vacant, and complete house/s inspection prior to moving in on new farm. Immediately discuss any issues with farm owner, agree a plan and document this. Confirm if drug testing has been completed and results if applicable
Complete (and record) a stocktake of plant, machinery and supplies you have on your farm currently if relevant, note if any maintenance is required and arrange for that to be done or make a reminder for yourself for a later date. Keep a record of this for insurance purposes and make sure higher value items are specified on your policy
Determine what equipment and supplies you will need to complete your new contract. Plan a timeframe of purchases of those things you will need that you don’t currently have and arrange for them to be delivered to your new address and ensure that you (or someone you trust) is there to receive them as required, keep a record of this for insurance purposes and make sure higher value items are specified on your policy
Pack and label boxes of your farm items ready for moving. Try to keep the critical boxes together, i.e. the ones you know you will need quickly
If your move is local then consider moving your items bit by bit as much as possible to reduce stress - but do make each trip efficient.
Clean vehicles and machinery appropriately to prevent spread of any disease, pests and weed seeds. Clean, and then disinfect, any equipment that is used in or on animals, for example drenching equipment.
Have a chat with your insurer about whether you need a separate transit policy in place for the move as your contents policy might not be enough.
Try very hard not to take rubbish with you. Sell, recycle, or responsibly dispose of things you don’t want or need in the weeks prior to Moving Day.
Ensure all rubbish is removed from the farm. Your mess, your responsibility, and your reputation. Clean the sheds and plant appropriately.
Fix any fences and things that are your responsibility. If they are not your responsibility then ensure whosever it is knows what needs to be done, in writing.
Clean the dairy shed to a high standard of cleanliness, exactly as you would hope to find it. This means all surfaces, vats, pipelines etc. Use only approved products.
Ensure effluent infrastructure is left as you found it, and/or is left according to your contractual obligations (e.g. effluent pond is required to be no more than one quarter full of effluent as at 1 June). If this is unlikely to be possible to achieve, have a proactive conversation with appropriate parties.
Ensure you have clarified what it is you need / want the contractor to do. Make it clear where they will be going / working and advise them of anything they wouldn’t expect that would be a risk to them. Let them know of other activity on farm that could pose a risk to them. Advise them of farm rules (e.g. speed limits) and expectations of behaviour and of any relevant emergency procedures. Make sure you have agreed your costs and have a written document of expectations. It is helpful for both parties to have an electronic copy and mark-up of a farm map.