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Update for Farmers

This is an update from Beef & Lamb and the Meat Industry Association; we thought it was worth sharing far and wide.....

The Government has announced that as of midday 12 August, the Greater Auckland region would move back to Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country would move to Alert Level 2. 

The following is a summary of what that means for farmers now, but we also strongly encourage you to review your systems and ensure you are prepared in case the alert levels are increased in the near future. 

The following is the link to the Government’s summary of what each alert level means: Alert Levels

This morning, Ray Smith, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), confirmed that the same definition of essential services used last time will apply again. 

Farmers in or around the Auckland region – what does Alert Level 3 mean? 

The following is a link to the MPI website with specific advice for farmers within the Alert Level 3 region, including steps to take on farm and what essential services and suppliers you can still access etc: Key MPI advice for agricultural businesses in Alert Level 3

Main on-farm implications 

The following is a link to the boundary map of the Auckland region that Alert Level 3 applies to: Alert Level 3 map
You will need a letter authorising an essential worker to cross the boundary, either to come from within the Auckland region to your farm if you are outside the region, or if you are in the Auckland region and employ someone from outside of the region.
The following is a link to the letter you can use: Letter for Employee Movement
Farmers do not need to register as an essential service at Alert Level 3.
As a business, you should ensure you are following the following good on-farm protocols to protect your workers and ensure swift contract tracing for anyone coming onto your farm.  The following is a 10 point plan developed last time we went into lockdown that still has relevant advice: COVID 10 Point Plan

Access to essential services and farming equipment

Farmers will have access to key essential services, contractors and supplies. The following is a link to the MPI list, but we recommend you contact your supplier to confirm the arrangements: List of agricultural essential services and suppliers

Farmers across the rest of the country

All farmers across the rest of the country are currently operating under Alert Level 2 and should be taking practical steps to protect their family, workers and others who may come onto the farm.

Farmers do not need to register as an essential service at Alert Level 2.

You should take steps to ensure there is good hygiene on your farm, that workers maintain at least a distance of one metre, and you keep track of those coming onto the farm so that contact tracing can be easily enacted if necessary.

What does this mean for processing?

Processing and exporting companies are reviewing their systems to comply with the Alert Level 3 and Level 2 requirements, drawing on the protocols developed last time around. 

At this stage, they are not foreseeing delays but are encouraging farmers to get in touch with their livestock representatives.

Along with Retail Meat New Zealand, we are continuing to advocate for butchers to be open to face-to-face customers under Alert Level 3.

We encourage all farmers to review their systems in case the alert levels are raised

This is obviously a fluid situation and it could change quickly. We therefore encourage farmers to review their systems and ensure they can quickly adjust in case their region or the whole country were to move to Alert Level 4. 

Please think about the services or supplies you may need over the next few weeks and talk to your supplier to ensure you have a plan in place to get these, in case we move to Alert Level 4.

We will provide you with advice if the alert levels rise.

B+LNZ events

For now, B+LNZ will still be continuing with events that are outside the Auckland region and that have under 100 people. 

Our staff are currently reviewing what is coming up and will be in touch with farmers if any events they had registered for have been cancelled and where feasible moved to virtual meetings to better manage risks.

We will be following Ministry of Health guidelines for any events that we hold and will be constantly reviewing the situation. Farmers will be provided with advice on practical steps to take ahead of the meeting and we will need you to register.

Further information
B+LNZ’s COVID-19 webpage (currently being updated): https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/coronavirus-covid-19
The Government’s COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
The Ministry for Primary Industries sector-specific information on COVID-19: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/covid-19-coronavirus-information-and-advice/

We know this is a set-back, but it’s vital that we all pull together and keep each other safe.

The industry proved its resilience and highlighted its importance to New Zealand under the previous lockdown, retaining thousands of jobs and continuing to earn valuable export revenue for New Zealand.

It’s important that we continue operating at that same high standard.