Lakeland Dairies steps up safety protocols…for farmers and staff

Lakeland Dairies has rolled out new physical and online measures to help protect farmers and customers – and to assist in halting the spread of Covid-19.

For customers of Lakeland Agri stores in Longford town, Lough Egish and Monaghan town, new perspex screens have been installed to enhance contact distancing between staff and customers.

This move comes in addition to a number of other protocols already in place including: limiting the number of customers permitted in store; ensuring that everyone washes their hands before entering; there is a ‘call-and-collect service’ for customers that require it; plus customers are required to remain in their vehicles while being loaded.

The co-op has also sent an information video to farmers outlining the contact distancing protocols in place at its agri-business premises.

Mark Delahunty general manager of Lakeland Agri has paid tribute to staff and customers for “their patience and goodwill”.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in society. At Lakeland Agri, and across our network of stores as well as at our feedmill in Lough Egish, we are playing our part to help curtail the spread of Covid-19.

“The health, safety and well-being of our customers and staff are our absolute key priorities.

Our stores remain stocked and, with our clear protocols, we are operating efficiently.

“We also assure our customers that we continue to deliver bulk feed deliveries on time to our customers, and ask customers to observe our delivery protocols and social distancing from our delivery staff.

“I greatly appreciate the efforts and understanding of both our customers and staff during what it is a testing time.

“We are committed to working our way through this and servicing our customers. Our technical support staff are available on the phone,” he said.

Milk collection

In a statement the co-op added that keeping milk collected in a safe and hygienic manner on farms is another “key priority”. Its clear protocols on milk collection were issued to farmers in recent weeks.

Farmers have been asked to have hand-washing facilities in place for hauliers with soap, hot water and paper towels – plus a bin for disposal.

Farmers are also being asked to thoroughly clean all surfaces that the milk haulier encounters, such as the handle of the dairy door, plus all necessary areas on the bulk tank. It is stated that all contact between farmer and haulier must be avoided.

Lakeland Dairies hauliers has received training and guidelines on how to safely collect milk on farms – another video outlining the milk collection protocols has also been sent to farmers.

Eamon Duignan general manager of member relations described compliance rates at farm level as “exceptionally high”.

“Farmers and hauliers are taking the health and safety around milk collection extremely seriously. It is our aim to continue the seamless collection and processing of milk. Central to this is the hygienic collection of milk.

“I want to thank our farmers and hauliers for their efforts thus far and urge everyone to keep taking the Covid-19 threat extremely seriously,” Duignan said.