COVID-19 Update on Farm Business Safety Plan Resources
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) specialists developed resources to help farms comply with the COVID-19 written safety plans required in New York State. A version of this post first appeared in The Ag Workforce Journal.
New York Forward:
As the New York Forward plan is implemented across the state, businesses of all kinds are required to have a written COVID-19 safety plan in place. Both essential agricultural businesses that have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and those non-food related agricultural businesses who will re-open must have a safety plan. A task force of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) specialists developed a new set of resources to help farms comply with this requirement and efficiently prepare plans during this busy time of the year.
The NY Forward Business Safety Plan Support for Farms resource collection contains:
- Plan Templates. Download these blank forms that you can use electronically to write your plan or simply print out and hand write your plan. Available in Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word formats.
- Considerations and Examples for Your Plan. The CCE team prepared two new documents that provide ideas for your consideration and examples of how you might complete your plan for common farm situations. The main document here is intended for most farms engaged in production agriculture and a companion document is for those farms that include retail sales as part of their business.
- Key References and Support Documents. A huge number of resources have been created since March. We have selected the most relevant documents that farms need to complete business safety plans, including guidance documents from state government and best management practice (BMP) documents from Cornell experts. These references focus on specific types of farms and their specialized needs.
Also included are quite a few related references and support articles. Access all of these resources on the Cornell Ag Workforce website.
You can also reach out to your local CCE business management educators across the state to assist with this important business safety task.
New Guidance Documents:
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has also released further guidance regarding farming operations during COVID-19.
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.