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Fluid situation - B+LNZ encouraging farmers to review systems

BEEF and Lamb NZ has provided an update for farmers in the wake of the Covid-19 alert level changes this week and they strongly encourage farmers to review their systems.

Farmers should ensure they get prepared in case the alert levels increase further in the near future.

“Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Ray Smith confirmed earlier this week that the same definition of essential services used last time applies again,” a B+LNZ spokesperson said.

For farmers in the Auckland region under Alert Level 3, it means registration as an essential service, written authorities for essential workers, good on-farm protocols to protect workers.

They must ensure swift contract tracing for anyone coming onto the farm.

All other farmers across the rest of the country will continue to operate under Alert Level 2.

“They should be taking practical steps to protect their family, workers and others who may come onto the farm,” B+LNZ said.

Farmers do not need to register as an essential service at Alert Level 2.

“You should take steps to ensure there is good hygiene on your farm, that workers maintain a distance of at least one metre, and you keep track of those coming onto the farm so that contact tracing can be easily enacted if necessary.

“Processing and exporting companies are reviewing their systems to comply with the Alert Level 3 and Level 2 requirements, drawing on the protocols developed last time around.

“At this stage, they are not foreseeing delays but are encouraging farmers to get in touch with their livestock representatives.

“This is obviously a fluid situation and it could change quickly.

“We therefore, encourage farmers to review their systems and ensure they can quickly adjust in case their region or the whole country were to move to Alert Level 4.”

B+LNZ suggests farmers think about the services or supplies they may need over the next few weeks.

“Talk to your supplier to ensure you have a plan in place to get these, in case we move to Alert Level 4

“We will provide further advice if the alert levels rise.

“We know this is a set-back, but it’s vital that we all pull together and keep each other safe.”

B+LNZ said the industry proved its resilience and highlighted its importance to New Zealand under the previous lockdown, retaining thousands of jobs and continuing to earn valuable export revenue for New Zealand.

“It’s important that we continue operating at that same high standard.”