Feb 3, 2022
In Case of COVID – Break Glass!
The Pan Sector Industry Working Group (IWG) was formed in mid-2021 to help prepare and support farmers dealing with COVID-19. The group has been continuing to work on the ever-changing situation and is now encouraging farmers to have an ‘On-Farm Survival Kit’.
The IWG includes representatives from B+LNZ, DairyNZ, Deer Industry New Zealand, Federated Farmers, NZPork, Poultry Industry and Egg Producers and RST’s, with support from MPI.
Omicron is expected to have a greater spread and subsequent impact in the farming community than previous Covid-19 variants. This compounds the many pressures that farmers, agricultural support services, retailers and processors are experiencing, meaning that planning is more essential than ever.
A good starting point for planning is the on farm COVID-19 checklist, which can be found here. The checklist is designed to get you thinking about what sort of things you need to consider if you or your staff get the virus or become a close contact.
The IWG has been monitoring and engaging with our Australian counterparts on the difficulties they are facing with Omicron. This has identified how important the whole of the supply chain is to farmers. Generally, farmers think of this in immediate terms, such as ‘Can my processor take my animals?’. However, Australia has found that a larger impact lies closer to the consumer end of the supply chain, i.e. ‘Can the retailer selling my product stock the shelves?’ or ‘Can the transporter deliver the product?’. When these pieces of the supply chain fail, a ripple effect occurs, which ends up with farmers having to hold over stock for longer periods of time than they would like.
Consequently, the IWG is encouraging farmers to put together an ‘On-Farm Survival Kit’ that contains equipment or supplies that may be needed if they became inaccessible due to retail or service businesses closing for a period. This includes items like veterinary supplies, stock feed, pipe fittings, fuel etc. - all those things that you use and top-up on a regular basis. If your supplier, or your supplier’s supplier have to shut for a period of time, what would you do?
This is not about panic buying, this is about thinking ahead and being prepared for the worst. Work with your suppliers and your processor, and make a plan today.
If you do need some assistance contact the RST on 0800 78 72 54 or the IWG on 0800 FARMING.
Help a Fellow Farmer
The Covid-19 Industry Working Group (IWG), through Federated Farmers and the Rural Support Trust, has developed an online register for people who are prepared to assist other farmers with basic tasks, if they have to go into self-isolation.
The aim of the register is to enable the IWG to match volunteers to farms that need help. If you or your staff are interested in signing up as a volunteer, you can do so at the link below.
All information that you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence and only used for the purposes of matching you up with a suitable farm that needs help.
While we all hope that it won’t be needed, the volunteer register is another tool for helping the rural community get through the challenges of Covid and could well make a world of difference to those who end up needing it.
If you do need assistance due to Covid-19 on your farm, please contact your local Rural Support Trust or 0800 FARMING (select option 3) in the first instance or let DINZ know.
Reminder of DINZ recommendations under the traffic light system
DINZ Operations under “Traffic Lights”
For every activity, the following must be done:
|If 100% vaccinated||If unknown||If 100% vaccinated||If unknown||If 100% vaccinated||If unknown|
|Small indoor meeting||No limits||1m distancing with seated catering||No limits||1m distancing with seated catering||Proceed with spacing||Is it essential? If not do not proceed|
|Hosted Tour (e.g. AP Exchanges, BDT, Young Chefs)||Check host’s policies||Check host’s policies, 1m distancing, Masks recommended||Check host’s policies||Check host’s policies, 1m distancing, Masks recommended||Is it essential? If not do not proceed||Do not proceed|
|On-farm meeting||Check host’s policies||Check host’s policies, 1m distancing, Masks recommended||Check host’s policies||Check host’s policies, 1m distancing, Masks recommended||Proceed with spacing||Do not proceed|
|Large Gathering (Tech Expo, Regional Workshops, Conference)||No limits||<100, 1m, seated catering||No limits||<50, 1m spacing, seated catering, masks recommended||Is it essential? If not do not proceed||Do not proceed|