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Covid contingency planning for ‘minor-but-disruptive’ event

20 July 2021

As the Covid-19 vaccination programme rolls out we find ourselves moving into a new phase of disruption to our lives. This is one where the symptoms of infection are less significant on an individual or population level, but larger numbers of people are infected with the virus at any one time, and those infected still need to self isolate or could still be sufficiently ill that they cannot undertake their normal work. This means that potentially we could see an even greater impact on ‘business as usual’ over the rest of the summer. This is a good time to revisit your Covid contingency plans and make sure that you are prepared. We suggest thinking about the following questions:

* If you had to take to your bed for a few days, what could you do to make it easier for others to help you? Have you completed an Emergency Plan.

* You might normally rely on contractors who could manage without you anyway – but what things do you take for granted that you can be there to explain in person?

* Do you need to check beasts away at grazing – who else knows exactly where these fields are?

* If you rely on staff who cannot attend work because of Covid, have you done everything you can to make it easy for others to pick up their tasks? Are staff following set, documented procedures to ensure that others could take over at short notice, e.g. in milking processes?

* If a feed supplier had an issue and were unable to meet their normal delivery times, would this create a problem for you, and how could you reduce the chances of being left short?

* Do you have the necessary veterinary products in stock to cover any upcoming routine livestock treatments so that you wouldn’t be affected by the supplier’s store being closed for the day?

* Do you have a sufficient supply of workshop consumables and common spare parts so that you can keep machinery rolling even if your normal parts store didn’t open for a day?

* If you normally get your replacement ear tags printed locally and they had to close for a few days, would this impact your ability to get cattle away on schedule?

* Are there other products that someone collects at short notice in order to keep the business operating, where a delay in getting them – even for just a day – would be disruptive?

Whilst none of these issues are likely to be life-changing for the business, they could certainly cause some stress and worry – and who needs that? Some problems can’t be avoided, and farmers are very resilient, but if you can take a simple step now which reduces the number of things which could cause you disruption, do it!

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