FARMER / FARM FAMILY HEALTH
Everyone in NI must help stop coronavirus spreading. This means you need to:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you do go out (stay 2 metres apart)
- wash your hands well and often
- work from home if you can
- Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
If I feel unwell and am showing symptoms of COVID-19 what should I do?
You must self-isolate at home and follow the Public Health Agency guidance.
As farmers are classified as key workers can I get tested for COVID-19?
Coronavirus testing is now available for essential or key workers who are self-isolating due to having coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of their household has symptoms.
Testing is also available to symptomatic people who live with key or essential workers. For more information on testing and how to arrange testing please click here.
What is social distancing?
Everyone in the UK is required to practice social distancing at all times, this includes farmers. Vulnerable people must take additional precautions. Government guidance can be found here.
If myself or my family are self-isolating or are considered vulnerable how will we get medicine/food delivered/farm supplies etc?
There are community groups, churches, young farmers clubs, sports clubs all over Northern Ireland offering assistance to those who are unable to leave their homes and have no other options for help. Many local businesses are also offering a delivery service.
If you are unsure who to contact in your area contact your local UFU group or your local political representative and they should be able to signpost you to someone in your area. The contact details for local group offices can be found here (click on the relevant office for phone numbers). Alternatively check out Rural Support’s Facebook page for an up-to-date list of community groups willing to offer help in your area.
If a dairy farmer/farming family is self-isolating will our milk be collected?
Milk collection is the most essential aspect of dairy supply and should remain uninterrupted.
If I am ill with COVID-19 is there anyone who can assist with farm work?
Discussions are on-going regarding pulling together a list of potential farm workers / relief milkers that could assist farmers if necessary. If you require assistance contact Farm Relief; Tel: +353749145386 (answer machine checked hourly) or email email@example.com.
How should I prepare my farm business?
The DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA and UFU are advising farmers to make plans to deal with possible infection of COVID-19 in order to keep the family farm running.
Precautionary steps to reduce potential impacts on the farm include;
- Identify who you can ask to help and know what skills or knowledge they need to work on your farm.
- Write down the daily work plan to include what is happening on the farm, which stock are where, what feed they are receiving, animal health treatments, grazing rotation, etc.
- Provide operating instructions for all machinery and equipment, for example the milking parlour routine, the automatic systems in the hen broiler, pig house and don’t forget the things often taken for granted like checking the meal hasn’t bridged in the bin.
- Assess feed, fertiliser, oil, medicines, disinfectants and other critical inputs. Where stocks are low, replenish but don’t stockpile.
- Provide everyone with a list of emergency contacts, i.e. the private veterinary practitioner, technical advisers, local contractors.
- Ensure everyone is multi-skilled where possible, i.e. everyone could milk the cows if necessary
I am feeling stressed / anxious / overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic?
It's natural to feel anxious during times of uncertainty. Check out advice from the NHS here or contact Rural Support and speak to someone who can help you, details on their website or phone their helpline: 0800 138 1678 (operates 9am – 9pm).
How can I keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours during this time?
The UFU have produced a useful guide to various e-communications options. Click here for more information.