With Covid-19 cases rising as fast as at any time during this pandemic, farmers and crofters need to be more concerned now about the safety of themselves, their families and their staff than ever before writes NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick.
Farming in Dumfries and Galloway, Mr McCornick has seen the region go from tier one with low incidence to one of the worst rates per 100,000 population in Scotland and members across the country are reporting that the disease is now much more prevalent in rural settings than it was earlier this year.
He urges all farmers and crofters to avoid complacency and keep up their guard and re-visit the guidance for farmers and crofters produced by Scottish Government at: https://bit.ly/2K2aEr0 to keep businesses running and stock looked after.
He writes: “Many farmers and crofters are experts at biosecurity. Many have good biosecurity measures in place and that puts them in a good place for dealing with the virus. We encourage everyone to revisit and consider their biosecurity measures. Good practices such as limiting the number of people having access to the farm and recording who comes on and when are things we should be following now.
“We also need to plan for the worst while hoping for the best by having a contingency plan for scenarios where yourself, your family or your workforce get infected or required to self-isolate.”
The Union has stood by its pledge, made at the outset of the pandemic, to keep food and drink on the table and that has been delivered from farmgate to shop shelf through hard work and adhering to the rules. Mr McCornick adds: “Keeping our markets, abattoirs and processing going throughout the Covid-19 outbreak has been a major achievement but this new variant of the virus and the latest spike means the need for compliance is even more essential if we are to avoid closures or partial shutdowns at these essential sites.”
In his blog, he signposts livestock farmers to the latest guidance for those attending markets at: https://iaas.co.uk/iaas-updates-covid-19-auction-mart-guidance-january-2021/
In conclusion, he warns: “Do not consider this virus an inconvenience. It can be, and has been, fatal for many families so please be considerate of others as well as yourself and obey the rules.”