The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, in a statement, complemented farmers’ abilities to adapt with Covid-19, how they are frontline workers in the food supply chain, writes Joseph Woulfe.
So, when the skilled workers say that level 5 restrictions in livestock marts “don’t work”, they should take heed of the frontline.
Return to level 3
I propose that they adjust the rule in marts to level 3, whereby a limited number of registered purchasers can bid from the ringside.
The model was that you register as a buyer in the mart and can go in and view cattle beforehand in a given time frame. You could take your place ringside one registered as a purchaser with some online bidders also active.
This, of course, is accommodated with social distancing, facemask wearing and the use of hand sanitiser.
These measures worked well in the marts in several regions; both marts and sellers and buyers were pleased. This is vital this simple measure is introduced.
‘Should not be excluded’
A farmer who does not own a smartphone/computer should not be excluded from buying livestock.
They are an integral part of the livestock movement; they are the farmers that have the skill of livestock but may not have formal training in information technology.
This has thrown these people into a position that their farm model of generations cannot operate due to it not being modelled around all buyers getting a chance to simply buy livestock.
I must add that marts have not caused an increase in Covid-19 cases. So why the need to change a system that operate correctly?
Allow the registered buyer to bid in sales ring, if they do not have access to computer devices – Let them wear the appropriate protection and get on with trading.
If farmers can buy an item in a shop, they should be allowed to buy in a mart.