“COVID-19 may change the way you farm,” says Katelyn Hain, North Dakota State University Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent for Grand Forks County. “While farm work may seem isolated, think about all the times you connect with others either on your farm or at agribusinesses.”
Here are 10 ways she says that farmers and ranchers can protect themselves, their families and others from COVID-19:
1. Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
2. Clean shared spaces. Wash and disinfect high-touch shared areas after each use in shops, tractors, other equipment and vehicles. Allow for airflow in shared spaces.
3. Keep your distance. Assign tools, tractors, pickups, etc. to specific individuals as much as possible.
4. Protect high-risk workers. Make sure individuals on your farm who may be considered higher risk or live with others who are considered at risk, as well as their equipment, are distanced from others as much as possible.
5. Hold daily meetings virtually. Do not ask employees to show up at the shop in the morning for meetings. Hold meetings in large open areas, such as outdoors, or online over digital teleconferencing programs such as Zoom.
6. Be mindful around others. Limit the number of individuals in a vehicle as much as possible when driving field to field. Use a cloth mask to cover your nose and mouth when around others.
7. Cut down on unnecessary visits. Limit family members or nonessential people from visiting during work. Skip ride-alongs to keep yourself and other employees safe. Do not meet for family dinners in the field.
8. Stay home if you’re sick. If you or a family member in your home gets sick, stay away from the farm.
9. Practice social distancing. Encourage all farm employees to keep their social circles tight. Avoid close contact (6-foot distance) with individuals if you must go out.
10. Prepare a plan. Develop and communicate a cohesive plan involving all employees. Outbreaks tend to happen when a plan is not developed, or when some are not taking the situation seriously.
“Sending a clear message to employees about your policies and procedures can help individuals in the operation take precautions seriously,” says Angie Johnson, NDSU Extension’s agriculture and natural resources agent in Steele County. “A culture that includes worker safety shows that you have thought about how to protect your workers and that they are important to your operation.”Source: NDSU Extension Service, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.