The Co-operative Difference

Preparing for COVID-19

It's only a matter of time before a positive case of COVID-19 turns up on farm. Do you know what to do when it does?

Last updated: 25 March 2022

Planning for the Potential Impact of COVID-19 On-Farm

Please find below guidance to make sure you are ready and are able to respond should there be a case of COVID-19 on your farm.

1. Preparing for COVID-19 on farm
2. The COVID-19 Protection Framework and our Business Operations (traffic light system)
3. What to do if you get COVID-19 on farm
4. FDA & Farm Verification Activity under Lockdown Levels 3 & 4
5. COVID-19 Health Information
6. Farmer FAQs

 

For the latest Government information and advice on managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business, head to the business.govt.nz site.

Preparing for COVID-19 On-Farm

Having a clear plan in place should you, an employee or family member contact COVID-19, is key to ensuring your farm can continue to operate effectively. Having a plan will help give you peace of mind that others will be able to step in and help.

Use this checklist to help you create a plan. There are other planning tools from DairyNZ here.

For the latest Government information and advice on managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business, head to business.govt.nz.

1. Preparing for COVID-19 on farm
2. What to do if you get COVID-19 on farm
3. FDA & Farm Verification
4. COVID-19 Health Information
5. Farmer FAQs

The COVID-19 Protection Framework (the traffic light system) and our Business Operations

Under the traffic light system we are still here to provide the same products and services you're used to, but depending on which traffic light you are at, it may be slightly different.

Red

Following the government changes at the Red level, we too have made some minor changes to how we operate.

From 11.59pm on Friday 25 March:

  • Everyone in store must still wear a mask
  • Ensure safe distancing when in-store
  • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19 and proactively communicate regarding visits

Orange

  • Everyone in store must wear a mask
  • Everyone must keep 1 meter apart (capacity limits may be required)
  • You'll need to scan or sign in
  • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19 and proactively communicate regarding visits

Green

  • Everyone in store is recommended to wear a mask
  • Keep 1 meter apart
  • You'll need to scan or sign in
  • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19

Please note that these protocols are likely to evolve as we adjust to life with COVID-19. We always follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health and we will update this page as things change. So please come back and check as we'll update all the information you need here.

Click and Collect

Don't forget, you can still do everything you did before at every level, it'll just be online or over the phone.

As a reminder, to place an order visit our website, call your local store or contact our service centre on 0800 731 266.

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What do you do if you get COVID-19 on farm?

MPI has updated their guidance in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on your farm.

  • MPI Guidance for farm dairy operators:
      • A person confirmed to be COVID-19 positive should be given the same consideration as a person with influenza or a cold.
      • If a farm dairy operator is advised by a person involved in milking activities that they are COVID-19 positive, no specific food safety action is currently required by MPI.
      • Ministry of Health requirements must be followed to minimise the risk of transmission to other staff or visitors to the farm dairy.
      • For further information, refer to the COVID-19 Protection Framework primary sector guidance.
      • For other illnesses, refer to the requirements set out in clause 5.12 of the Operational Code: NZCP1 – Design and Operation of Farm Dairies.
      • To minimise risk to your farming operation and milk supply, please ensure anyone who has tested positive remains away from the farm dairy (this excludes close, casual plus and casual contacts).

At any time if you have questions or need any support please don't hesitate to reach out to our Farm Source team via our Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68 - we are here to help.
Any information you provide will only be used for this purpose and will be managed in accordance with Fonterra's Privacy Policy and Terms of Supply.

For more help and information check out our FAQs.

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FDA and Farm Verification

As the FDA is part of the regulatory framework and our Risk Management Programme (RMP) requirements, MPI does require Farm Dairy Assessments to proceed as scheduled.

To ensure everyone’s safety during the Red traffic light setting, QCONZ and Fonterra have put in place some extra safety measures:

  • QCONZ will carry out Farm visits with the following controls in place:
    • Mask wearing and social distancing will be in place while on farm
    • Farmers will have a phone call prior to any on farm visit to explain our COVID-19 Red Light Procedures
    • As part of the pre call the assessor will ask what the situation is on farm around COVID-19 exposure
    • When completing audits there will be a limit on the number of farmers present (one person) to reduce the number of people interactions
    • QCONZ will limit the time in office areas and other unventilated areas
    • All assessors will undertake increased hygiene precautions

For more information please read the MPI notice, or you can contact our Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68.

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COVID-19 Health Information


1. Got Symptoms?
Your health is paramount. Call your GP before you visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

You need to let us know via the Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68 if anyone on-farm involved with milking becomes infected. This is particularly important for our tanker drivers who collect your milk. Our drivers are taking a number of precautions to protect you and them, so please excuse us if your service isn't as personal as you're used to.

2. Latest Health Information
The official COVID-19 website (www.covid19.govt.nz) has everything you need to know about the pandemic in one place.

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FAQs

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation in New Zealand and the fluid nature of restrictions, we were keen to provide some assurance to farmers around milk collection, safety and animal welfare.

Below are our responses to your frequently asked questions, relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on farm.

1. What should I do if I feel unwell?
If you feel unwell, the best thing you can do is get a COVID-19 test.
While awaiting test results, you can continue to milk. But if possible, it’s a good idea to avoid working in the dairy to reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 on farming operations.

2. What do I do if I, or one of the farm staff have tested positive for COVID-19?
It’s important you follow Ministry of Health guidelines to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID -19.
Please ensure tanker pick-ups are non-contact and let any visiting team member know if anyone is isolating or COVID-19 positive on farm.

3. Can I continue to milk if I have tested positive for COVID-19 and will Fonterra collect my milk?
Yes.
If you have tested positive, please follow Ministry of Health (MoH) guidance.
We’d appreciate it if you can please let us know so we can ensure tanker pick-ups are non-contact and that visiting team members are aware.
We suggest you undertake a sanitizer clean of the dairy after each milking.

4. Can I continue to milk if I am a close contact?
If you or one of the farm employees is a close contact, you’ll likely be waiting on test results.
You can continue to milk, but if possible, it’s a good idea to avoid working in the dairy to reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 on farming operations.
We suggest you undertake a sanitizer clean of the milking plant after each milking.

5. Does Fonterra test for COVID-19 in the milk?
No, we do not test for COVID-19 in the milk. The risk of milk contamination is extremely low and pasteurisation of milk products inactivates the virus, making it safe for consumers.

6. Is Fonterra supplying Rapid Antigen Tests to Fonterra farms?
We understand the pressure COVID-19 may place on your farming operations, so we've been looking at ways we can support. Our Farm Source team has worked to secure an allocation of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). We expect to have at least 1 x pack of 5 RATs for every Co-op farm, and hope this will help get farms through until RATs become more widely available.

At this stage, tanker drivers will start delivering to farms from 10 March.

7. Do Farm Source Stores sell Rapid Antigen Tests?
Right now we don't sell RATs in Farm Source Stores. However, we are actively exploring this as an option and continue to build relationships with RAT providers in New Zealand.

8. What is the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Fonterra employees?
We will be implementing a requirement for all roles at Fonterra workplaces to be carried out by fully vaccinated people from 1 April 2022. Those who choose to remain unvaccinated will be able to commit to a daily testing programme.

9. Does Fonterra's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy extend to farmers?
The policy is for Fonterra employees and contractors, and anyone visiting a Fonterra workplace. The policy does not apply to customers visiting Farm Source retail stores.

There is no COVID-19 vaccine specific policy for farmers.

We will continue to collect milk regardless of the vaccination status of farmers and their employees.

10. Is Fonterra mandating vaccinations for customers in our Farm Source retail operations?
No, not at present. We are running our retail stores in accordance with the current Government guidance for retail premises. All visitors, retail or trade customers will be required to adhere to relevant public health measures and any additional site-specific health and safety plans, including physical distancing, contact tracing and mask wearing. Having our retail staff vaccinated provides them with an extra layer of protection in light of their interactions with the public.

11. Does Fonterra's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy extend to vendors and contractors in a Farm Source store?
Yes. Everyone who enters a store in order to perform work will need to be vaccinate. Those who choose to remain unvaccinated will need to provide evidence of a daily COVID-19 test before coming into the store and only enter the store if the test is negative.

12. Where do I go for more support?
If you need more support, contact MoH, Rural Support Trust or get in touch with one of our team through the service centre on 0800 65 65 65.

 

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