Farmers are being urged to write down the details of their daily routines so that animals can continue to be fed and essential work carried out if they become ill.
As fears grow that the pandemic will spread rapidly in the coming weeks, farmers who are often one-man operations with very little back-up in place have been warned they need to urgently make contingency plans for their individual situations.
Calving, lambing and field work is currently in full swing, and livestock needs to be fed and cared for on a daily basis, so it is vital animal welfare is not compromised if a farmer is sick.
Rural charity RSABI is already reaching out to machinery groups, auctioneers, livestock markets, young farmers’ clubs and the farmers’ union in a effort to ensure all sectors of the agricultural community are as prepared as they can be for the weeks ahead.
The charity’s chief executive, Nina Clancy has appealed to the industry to start making plans now so that friends, family, neighbours, contractors or volunteers are prepared and able to take over essential day-to-day jobs.
“Every situation is different so please, please get plans in place because if you get this virus you’ll be floored and unable to work,” she said.
“We will help as much as we can to put people in touch with one another, and we’ll help pay for labour if necessary in the most challenging situations, but everyone needs to think about this right now.
“Think about who could take over, and have the conversation with them. Forward planning is essential.”
Meanwhile, auctioneers United Auctions has advised no farmers over the age of 70 should go to sales, and only producers who are buying or selling stock should attend markets.
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