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Although farmers must plant and ranchers must feed cattle, producers and their employees need to remain safe.
The Kansas Farm Bureau has launched a webpage dedicated to resources farmers and ranchers need to help combat COVID-19. The site includes information on how farmers can protect themselves and their workers.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture also has a site with relevant information that includes ag-related documents.
Cornell Cooperative Extension's Agricultural Workforce Development recommends that farm employers develop a plan and communicate it to their employees.
In addition to communicating the risks of the virus, hang Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posters and explain your sick leave policy. Provide guidance and cleaning supplies to help workers keep the bathrooms and break rooms clean. Communicate with employees that they should stay home if they are sick.
The National Corn Growers Association outlined best practices for the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. In some parts of Kansas, field preparation is already underway. Because of COVID-19, face-to-face interactions must be limited. Practicing biosecurity is critical during this time.
NCGA COVID-19 Planning & Procedures:
1. Identify and coordinate a drop-off location for supplier deliveries to the farm. If possible, set this up away from on-farm high traffic areas and housing.
2. Create specific instructions for drop-off deliveries.
• Provide the location and all procedures needed at the drop-off point.
• Create signage to easily identify drop-off points.
• List all point of contacts with contact information to assist with questions leading up to delivery and upon arrival.
• Practice distancing with delivery drivers. In these circumstances, it is best not to greet them with a handshake. Instead, keep a recommended distance of at least six feet. Avoiding personal interaction is best.
3. Log all deliveries and on-farm entries.
• Utilize a visitor's log for everyone entering the farm.
• Monitor personal travel with a personal travel log.
4. Prepare an on-farm workforce, including your family members.
• Provide guidance for handwashing and handling materials. Make sure guidance is available and communicated to employees.
• If you have off-farm employees or seasonal help, alert them that all sick employees must stay at home.
• If you have added sanitizing materials to the shop or in truck and equipment, alert employees where they can find them.
• If your operation has a significant number of employees, encourage them to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing during non-work hours.
5. Sanitize contact surfaces.
• Disinfect all door handles and knobs, floor mats, steering wheels and other commonly contacted surfaces.
• Sanitize common gathering places — shops, lunch areas, office spaces.
6. Make a plan for if you get sick. Write it down so others can implement it.