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Covid-19: Farmers, have you a plan B?

With the numbers of confirmed cases of Covid-19 growing each day, the likelihood of contracting the virus is greater.

The problem for farmers currently is: what will happen to their farm if they catch the virus?

Plan B

To help with this problem, the IFA has issued a document called ‘Plan B’, which will help farmers to compile the essential information that would be needed if someone else has to step in to run the farm should the farmer contract Covid-19 or has to go into social isolation.

Tim Cullinan, IFA president, said this document will make it as easy as possible for someone else to run a farm for a period of time.

“The biggest asset on any farm is the farmer. If they fall ill, family helpers or those working closely with them may also have to self-isolate and may not be available to step in.”

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“IFA’s key focus, since this virus began, was to try and keep farmers and the farming sector operating within the restrictions and guidelines set out by the Government and the HSE. This is very challenging, but farmers need to think of themselves and their business too. Without farmers, we have no sector.”

The ‘Plan B’ document is available to download from IFA’s newly-launched Covid-19 information hub. The document contains a questionnaire and some helpful hints for the person nominated to run the farm.

“IFA has gathered all of the key agri-related information into a single, easy-to-navigate resource with FAQ’s and personnel available to deal with farmer queries,” Cullinan said.

Safety of members

The IFA president reiterated that farmers should undertake all precautions set down by the public health authorities. “While most farmers who contract the virus will only suffer a mild illness, some will fall ill and will not be able to continue to run the farm, or they might have self-isolate.”

IFA branch officers plan to contact older neighbours and those farming alone during this difficult time. “Our county, branch and office structure is there to support our members. I have asked all those involved in our structure to reach out to our members at this time. We can’t visit people, but we can ring them, and we are doing that in an organised way throughout the country.”

Cullinan said that any farmer who needs help or is unwell should contact their local IFA office.

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