Given the scale of the global Covid-19 outbreak, it is important that all farm businesses are prepared for the possibility of family members or farm workers contracting the virus. If the worst should happen, having appropriate measures in place should help lessen the impact on your farm business. There are several schemes available which may be able to help source volunteers to undertake farm work if some members of the farm are out of action and these are listed at the end of the document.
Agreeing a plan of action before someone becomes ill will help alleviate stress and help the farm business function more efficiently until things return to normal. The plan should include who will take over the farm business and the farm work that must be prioritised.
The FUW has provided a Covid-19 preparation checklist and template farm preparation plan to help minimise business disruption should volunteers or those less familiar with current farm practise be needed to work on the farm.
FUW Covid-19 Checklist
Before Covid-19 has an impact on the farm, prioritise the work that needs doing. List the essentials that must be done in priority order and, where appropriate, update the list monthly to accommodate seasonal changes in farm practise. Leave non-essential work until the farm business is back to normal. You may need to think about how many days you would require a volunteer or helper to work on the farm and this will include undertaking repetitive tasks such as feeding animals.
2. Talk it Through
Discuss your plan with others in the farm business. Make a list of key contacts that will need to be informed if Covid-19 strikes. These should include the farm vet, contractors, suppliers, gas / electric / oil companies, the farm accountant, shearers, friends and family. Your FUW county office can also provide much needed help and assistance during this time.
3. Help the Helpers
It is important that handwashing facilities and disinfection kits are available for volunteers working on your farm. Think about the work that will need to be done and highlight the locations of important tools for the job such as handwashing facilities, keys, taps, medicines, disinfectants, chemicals and any other items that might be needed by the farm helper. Make sure that all important documents and information about the farm are easily available. This should include the priority work list, your farm contacts, the farm medicine book, the herd or flock health plan, a list of land parcels with livestock and so on.
FUW Covid-19 Farm Preparation Plan
The FUW has prepared a Covid-19 preparation document which can be placed in an easily accessible place in the farm for use by those helping run the farm if someone in the business is diagnosed with Covid-19. Download a copy of this Preparation Plan here.
Need Help? Find a Volunteer
Please note that before a volunteer can visit your farm, you must have current and valid Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance. Click here to contact your local FUW Insurance Services office and ensure that you have the right cover.
Lantra Skills Matching Service
The Lantra Skills Matching Service puts businesses and potential employees in touch with each other. Click here to see the skills matching service for businesses.
Menter Mon and Conwy Cynhaliol
The programme will contact a volunteer that has registered on their database. The volunteer will contact you for further information and guidance on what is required. As part of the programme ONLY ask that the most basic and important work be done.
Important information for our members and customers
All staff are currently working remotely, meaning our team are continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead.
Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers.
We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone.
Important links relating to Covid-19:
- The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/
- Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095
- Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/
- Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for agricultural businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/agriculture
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-
bank.co.uk/ourpartners/ coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme- cbils/
- National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/
- National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus
- Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/
- BVA advice to farmers and vets about safe interactions: https://www.bva.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-advice-for-farm-vets-farmers-and-livestock-keepers/
- Guidance for tourism and hospitality businesses for a safe reopening: https://gov.wales/tourism-and-hospitality-businesses-guidance-phased-reopening-html