Farmers urged to respect Covid-19 procedures in co-ops and stores

Farmers have been reminded that it is vital that all people practice social distancing and safety guidelines on their farms by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Commenting on the matter, ICMSA Farm and Rural Affairs Committee chair Denis Drennan expressed concern at reports that some farmers going to co-op stores and feed merchants are not observing the required social distancing and might be slipping back into their normal ‘social mode’.

The chairperson said: “This just can’t happen.

In fairness to the co-ops and the merchants, they’re staying open as an essential service to farmers – the onus is on us to respect them and their staff and also to observe the regulations and recommendation around distances and disinfecting.

Drennan urged farmers to ring ahead and abide by co-op procedures as to when and how to collect the order.

“Go in, get as much in one order as you might normally get in two, and then go home – do not hang around for a chat; because if the co-op outlets and feed merchants emerge as problems in terms of social distancing then they’ll be closed down and an already difficult situation will be compounded,” Drennan added.

“The virus is extremely contagious so we must keep our distance from others that enter our farm – and people entering the farms should be kept to the absolute minimum,” Drennan added.

The ICMSA outlined four principles that must be observed:
  • Avoid all interactions with milk hauliers. Ensure the bulk tank and door handles are disinfected prior to arrival. Leave soap and paper at the sink so visitors can easily wash their hands;
  • Avoid contact with delivery people. State clearly prior to delivery where goods can be left and where to place the delivery docket. Do not assist the delivery person during this time;
  • Minimise contact during vet calls and maintain a 2m distance from vets at all times;
  • Farmers over the age of 70 need to be particularly vigilant and must avoid all contact with visitors on farm.

Continuing, Drennan said: “We all know the strain and anxiety out there but equally we all know we have to keep the focus on and be disciplined.

“Above all, we have to respect the regulations and procedures to protect ourselves and the people working with – and for – us,” the chairman concluded.