COVID-19 Update on Prevention and Response for Farms
Recently, New York State detailed its plan to begin re-opening in phases, as regions of the state achieve certain COVID-19 management metrics. An important part of this New York Forward plan is for all businesses to have a customized, written safety plan that details specifically how each business will prevent and manage COVID-19.
All farms are required to have a written plan, this includes essential, food-producing farms (e.g., dairy, fruit, vegetable) that have been open all along, and non-food-producing farms (e.g., ornamental horticulture, equine). The state provides a Business Safety Plan Template that farmers can use to meet the requirement.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is working to develop further educational resources to help farms with safety plan compliance.
This week, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets released further guidance regarding farming operations during COVID-19.
New Guidance Documents:
This guidance is provided for farm owners, operators, and farm workers so they can incorporate these procedures into farm protocols to prevent and respond to COVID-19.
In the Interim Guidance for Prevention and Response of COVID-19 at Farms document, the state outlines: cleaning and disinfection, face coverings, social distancing, high-risk locations, coordination with local health departments, employee health screening, quarantine/isolation, and farm-provided employee housing.
The state created a companion document as a helpful checklist for farms to be sure they have covered every required item outlined in the guidance.
Also released was a tip sheet for farm workers. This document is presently in English but should be available in more languages soon. It is recommend that you distribute it to all employees of your farm business.
For Additional Information:
The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets has created an official COVID-19 resource page offering details and latest guidance as it relates to agriculture in the state.
The Cornell Small Farms Program is keeping a list of resources for farms to build resiliency through potential impacts from COVID-19.
The Cornell EDEN website is the hub of information for COVID-19 issues and resources.
The Cornell Ag Workforce is a great resource for updates on labor management issues and programs and policies related to ag workforce issues and COVID-19.
The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University answers questions around the risks associated with food production with useful links to expert resources to ensure that a safe and robust food supply is maintained.