The pandemic has changed the world, but not so much livestock. But there has been the preparation, innovation and adoption of different ways of doing agricultural business.
COVID continues to cause problems, including in New Zealand. Supply chains continue to be disrupted, tourism is a dead duck and since the pandemic first closed our borders 90,000 tourism jobs have been lost and billions of dollars in revenue.
Supply chain issues aside, the lives of large farmers haven’t changed much; they are there to do the job of providing food. But what if COVID makes its way inside the farm?
The key is to create a plan. Talk to staff, family, and anyone else who might be affected, including contractors and neighbors. How will inventory be managed and maintained if key people contract COVID and become ill. These are all things you should plan, discuss, and document if the worst were to happen.
Beef + Lamb, has good information and planning advice for COVID-19 on their website and a summary of the information is presented below:
- Have a plan in case you or someone on your farm contracts or is exposed to COVID-19. There is more information on this below, including the ‘Preparation of the cross-sectoral COVID-19 on-farm checklist. We recommend that you remind your staff of the importance of keeping small âbubblesâ separate and of being vaccinated.
- For more information on the traffic light system, visit the COVID-19 official website. the Ministry of Primary Industries website also contains useful information for companies in the primary sector, in particular in this handy resource.
- You may need to provide your My Vaccine Pass, the official registration of your COVID-19 vaccine status, when you enter businesses, attend events, etc. You can also choose to require it for visitors to your farm.
- The primary sector can continue to operate under the traffic light system, at any level with the appropriate measures in place.
- Although the widespread vaccination and the traffic light system provide increased freedoms, it is likely that there will be more cases of COVID-19 in the community, increasing the likelihood of positive cases occurring in businesses in the primary sector. Vaccination and control measures are essential – make sure everyone is following proper protocols and protecting our industry, which is vital to New Zealand’s economy. There are some helpful resources on this page, but the key points to remember are to ensure that staff and visitors are scanning using a QR poster and that they wear masks, that everyone maintain a distance of two meters, that the objects touched during the day are disinfected and that if anyone is sick, they stay at home.
- Talk to your processor about any potential delays and their policies regarding accepting inventory for on-farm COVID-19 cases – and be aware of the pressures they face during this rapidly evolving situation.
- We still take a cautious approach to B + LNZ in-person events and there will be some changes. We will update registered attendees and information for each event on our website. (See also the section at the bottom of this page).
- Cattle auctions are classified as events under the traffic light system. This means that there are certain restrictions which vary depending on the setting of the traffic lights in an area and whether or not you use My Vaccine Pass. More information on page 22 of this MPI resource.
- For travel to and from Auckland, the essential worker category will no longer be required. From December 15 (to January 17), people traveling from Auckland will need to either be fully vaccinated or test negative within 72 hours of departure.
While there are many negative stories about how certain sectors of the economy were gutted, there are of course good stories and many good stories can be found in the agricultural sector. I have talked a lot about the technology and how it is helping New Zealand farmers progress on many levels.
Bidr is another major player in the online livestock trading environment and Liam Beattie, the Managing Director, joined me on the podcast this week to discuss how the business is moving in a dynamic and developing space. fast.
Beattie says there are so many benefits to trading cattle online and a few notable points are the savings in time and money. Some e-commerce services complement the already large network of breeding agents across the country.
The online livestock trade now has a permanent future as a valuable farming tool, even as COVID wears off.
Listen to the podcast for the full story and the full insight.
Angus Kebbell is the producer at Tailwind Media. You can contact him here.