Covid on the farm — are you ready?
FOCUS ON FARMING
Sally Dryland President Tararua Federated Farmers
Farmers: What’s your plan if someone in your family or among your staff tests positive for Covid-19? As Covid-19 vaccination rates build and New Zealand begins to transition to coping with the disease without lockdowns and less reliance on managed isolation facilities, the agri-sector and Ministry for Primary Industries have been working together to ensure farmers are prepared. The latest initiative is a checklist for farmers that will help a neighbour or someone else who needs to come on your farm if you have to go into MIQ or hospital. It covers preparation readiness in terms of personal wellbeing, animal care (including dog names and where food is located) farm contacts like which vet you use and the list can be downloaded from the Federated Farmers Website at www.fedfarm. org.nz It was a cast of thousands who put it together: Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, NZ Pork, Deer Industry NZ, Poultry Industry Association of NZ and the Egg Producers Federation of NZ all working together for the good of our wider agricultural industry. Covid’s here again in Tararua and it’s only a matter of time before we get more positive cases of Covid-19 turning up on farm. In a recent Federated Farmershosted webinar Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Butchard emphasised being doublejabbed was the “very best defence” if a farmer or key team member who tests positive sought to self-isolate on farm. Our local Rural Group, including Tararua Feds, last week met with Central District Health Board reps to grow understanding of how managed isolation will work in Tararua. Double vax and having a plan are the most positive preparation any of us can make. It’s not just a farming or rural issue as all lifestylers and pet owners will need to think about who could look after your place and animals if you need hospitalisation. Let’s have the conversations before we are in a pressure situation where you may not be able to communicate easily. The latest data out of the US indicates if you’re not vaccinated, you’re 11 times more likely to die from Covid-19 and 10 times more likely to be hospitalised. Immunologist and Otago University Associate Professor James Ussher told the webinar a doublevaccinated person had a 75-80 per cent lower chance of being infected with the virus. If you don’t get infected, you can’t pass it on to other people.