The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) have issued a statement urging farmers to be extra careful when interacting with essential farm visitors, including milk lorry and animal feed drivers.
The UFU have said it is vital that members are taking all precautions on-farm as well as off-farm.
Speaking on the matter of key farm visits, UFU president Ivor Ferguson said, “Milk collections and feed deliveries are an integral part of the daily routine on farms. So much so that our farmers engage directly with drivers without thinking about the interaction.”
“However, with the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re urging our farmers to make changes to how they would normally assist essential farm visitors. Farmers and drivers should heed Government recommendations about social distancing and ensure they’re always at least two metres apart. It is a simple measure which will make a huge difference in the battle against COVID-19.”
The UFU have reported that dairy processors are stressing that there is a limited number of milk tank drivers with experience of on-farm milk collection. Therefore, it is important that their health is not compromised by coming in contact with others.
The Union has asked farmers to take on board the following advice concerning milk collection and the animal feed delivery process:
- Let drivers do their job in isolation and avoid unnecessary social contact;
- Ensure that drivers have easy access to bulk tanks and feed bins;
- Clear identification and signage on farms will assist new drivers.
The organisation has also highlighted livestock marts as another aspect of agriculture life that will involve change due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They have said that marts across Northern Ireland are putting their own measures in place to help prevent the rapid spread of the infection.
Mr Ferguson concluded, “The Agri industry needs to act now. We need to take every precaution we can to protect one another and help our healthcare professionals safeguard the people of Northern Ireland. By being extra careful as we carry out day-to-day farming tasks, we’re ensuring that the food supply chain operates without any glitches.”
“Our farmers will play their part in tackling the biggest health challenge of our generation by continuing to produce quality food for the nation. Their commitment to food production will help ensure shop shelves remain stocked and consumers can purchase goods without difficulty.”