The Co-operative Difference

Preparing for COVID-19

It's only a matter of time before a positive case of COVID-19 turns up on farm. Do you know what to do when it does?

Last updated: 10 December 2021

Planning for the Potential Impact of COVID-19 On-Farm

Please find below guidance to make sure you are ready and are able to respond should there be a case of COVID-19 on your farm.

1. Preparing for COVID-19 on farm
2. The COVID-19 Protection Framework and our Business Operations (traffic light system)
3. What to do if you get COVID-19 on farm
4. FDA & Farm Verification Activity under Lockdown Levels 3 & 4
5. COVID-19 Health Information
6. Farmer FAQs

The COVID-19 Protection Framework (the traffic light system) and our Business Operations

Under the traffic light system we are still here to provide the same products and services you're used to, but depending on which traffic light you are at, it may be slightly different.

Green

    • Everyone in store is recommended to wear a mask
    • Keep 1 meter apart
    • You'll need to scan or sign in
    • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19

Orange

    • Everyone in store must wear a mask
    • Everyone must keep 1 meter apart (capacity limits may be required)
    • You'll need to scan or sign in
    • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19 and proactively communicate regarding visits

Red 

    • Everyone in store must wear a mask
    • Everyone must keep 2 meters apart (capacity limits may be required)
    • You'll need to scan or sign in
    • On-farm visits will continue as normal - Farm Source staff will respect any on-farm policy or procedures regarding COVID-19 and proactively communicate regarding visits

Please note that these protocols are likely evolve as we adjust to life with COVID-19. We always follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health and we will update this page as things change. So please come back and check as we'll update all the information you need here.

 

Click and Collect

Don't forget, you can still do everything you did before at every Alert Level, it'll just be online or over the phone.

As a reminder, to place an order, please visit our website, call your local store or contact our service centre on 0800 731 266.

 

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Preparing for COVID-19 on farm

Having a clear plan in place should you, an employee or family member contact COVID-19, is key to ensuring your farm can continue to operate effectively. Having a plan will help give you peace of mind that others will be able to step in and help.

Use this checklist to help you create a plan. There are other planning tools from DairyNZ here.

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What do you do if you get COVID-19 on farm?

In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on your farm, the following steps should be taken:

  • After you have had confirmation of a positive COVID-19 case from a public health official, please notify our Service Centre immediately on 0800 65 65 68
  • This will enable us, Milk Test NZ and QCONZ to limit the number of on-farm interactions to those that are essential only e.g. collecting milk.
  • The information you provide will only be used for this purpose and will be managed in accordance with Fonterra's Privacy Policy and Terms of Supply.
  • To minimise risk to your farming operation and milk supply, please ensure anyone who has tested positive remains away from the farm dairy (this excludes close, casual plus and casual contacts).
  • At any time if you have questions or need any support please don't hesitate to reach out to our Farm Source team via our Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68 - we are here to help.

For more help and information check out our FAQs.

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FDA and Farm Verification Activity Under Lockdown Levels 3 & 4

As the FDA is part of the regulatory framework and our Risk Management Programme (RMP) requirements, MPI does require Farm Dairy Assessments to proceed as scheduled.

To ensure everyone’s safety during this level 4 lockdown, MPI and Fonterra have put in place some extra safety measures:

  • During Level 3 and 4 only FDA, Inhibitory substance testing and grade tracebacks will be carried out
  • Farm verification activity will be stopped until NZ or the region reach level 1 or 2
  • Any planned Farm verification visits not undertaken during level 3 and 4 will be completed at a later date at no charge to you
  • QCONZ will carry out Farm visits with the following controls in place:
    • All farmers will be contacted prior to the visit occurring to ensure there are no positive COVID-19 cases or at-risk staff on farm. In these cases the visit will be postponed to a later date
    • All assessors will undertake increased hygiene precautions
    • Any paperwork not at the dairy will result in a QCONZ call and if the documentation can be sent electronically the farm will not incur any revisit costs
    • It is strongly recommended that you are not present during the assessment, but if you are, then you must remain at least 2 metres away.

Please also note, QCONZ has postponed all visits on Wednesday 18 August to ensure they can brief all their staff and put in place the necessary controls.

For more information please read the MPI notice, or you can contact our Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68.

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COVID-19 Health Information


1. Got Symptoms?
Your health is paramount. Call your GP before you visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

You need to let us know via the Service Centre on 0800 65 65 68 if anyone on-farm involved with milking becomes infected. This is particularly important for our tanker drivers who collect your milk. Our drivers are taking a number of precautions to protect you and them, so please excuse us if your service isn't as personal as you're used to.

2. Latest Health Information
The official COVID-19 website (www.covid19.govt.nz) has everything you need to know about the pandemic in one place.

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FAQs

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation in New Zealand and the fluid nature of restrictions, we were keen to provide some assurance to farmers around milk collection, safety and animal welfare.

Below are our responses to your frequently asked questions, relating to the impacts of COVID-19 on farm.

1. What should I do if I feel unwell?
If you feel unwell, the best thing you can do is get a COVID-19 test.
While awaiting test results, you can continue to milk. But if possible, it’s a good idea to avoid working in the dairy to reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 on farming operations.

2. What do I do if I, or one of the farm staff have tested positive for COVID-19?
COVID -19 is a notifiable disease, so it’s really important you let us know by calling the service centre on 0800 65 65 65.

3. Can I continue to milk if I have tested positive for COVID-19?
If you have tested positive, please follow Ministry of Health (MoH) guidance.
If MoH advise that you can isolate at home, you should stop working in the dairy and organise other employees or relief milkers to milk the cows.
If you are unable to organise relief milkers or alternatives, please:

• Notify us to advise you are a positive COVID-19 case and will continue to milk the cows
• Notify us when you return your final negative COVID-19 test
• Ensure you undertake a sanitizer clean of the milking plant after each milking

The above applies to anyone who is a confirmed case including owner/operators, the farmer and farm employees.

4. If I have tested positive for COVID-19, and continue to milk the cows in the dairy, will Fonterra collect my milk?
Fonterra will endeavor to collect all milk from farm as per the existing collection schedule, but please note schedules may be subject to change.

5. If I have tested positive for Covid-19, and I’m able to remain away from the dairy will Fonterra collect my milk?
Yes, we will continue to collect all milk from a farm where the confirmed COVID-19 case is able to remain away from the farm dairy.

6. Can I continue to milk if I am a close contact?
If you or one of the farm employees is a close contact, you’ll likely be waiting on test results.
You can continue to milk, but if possible, it’s a good idea to avoid working in the dairy to reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 on farming operations.
A dairy sanitizer clean is only required when there is a confirmed COVID-19 case on farm.

7. Does Fonterra test for COVID-19 in the milk?
No, we do not test for COVID-19 in the milk. The risk of milk contamination is extremely low and pasteurisation of milk products inactivates the virus, making it safe for consumers.

8. What is the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy that Fonterra is considering?

Fonterra is consulting with its employees on a proposal to require all roles in its New Zealand workplaces to be carried out by fully vaccinated people. At this stage it is just a proposal. We are seeking our employees' feedback and no decision will be made until the New Year.

The current proposal is for all employees to confirm their vaccination status by 1 February 2022, with the requirement to be fully vaccinated by 1 March 2022.

9. Does Fonterra's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy extend to farmers?

The proposal is only for a Fonterra employee vaccination policy. If implemented, it would apply to anyone visiting a Fonterra workplace. The proposed policy does not apply to customers visiting Farm Source retail stores.

There is no proposal for a COVID-19 vaccine specific policy for farmers.

We will continue to collect milk regardless of the vaccination status of farmers and their employees.

10. Is Fonterra mandating vaccinations for customers in our Farm Source retail operations?

No, not at present. We are running our retail stores in accordance with the current Government guidance for retail premises. All visitors, retail or trade customers will be required to adhere to relevant public health measures and any additional site-specific health and safety plans, including physical distancing, contact tracing and mask wearing. Having our retail staff vaccinated provides them with an extra layer of protection on light of their interactions with the public.

11. Does Fonterra's COVID-19 Vaccination Policy extend to vendors and contractors in a Farm Source store?

If the proposal is implemented, everyone who enters a store in order to perform work will need to be vaccinated, unless they fit within one of the limited exemptions.

12. Where do I go for more support?
If you need more support, contact MoH, Rural Support Trust or get in touch with one of our team through the service centre on 0800 65 65 65.

 

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