COVID – 19

Your Manx NFU have been reviewing the Government advice that is currently available and the affairs of industry in our neighboring jurisdictions to try and ascertain what is the best advice to be offering to our members and the wider agricultural sector.  We have sent this email to everyone on our mailing list.

The Manx NFU are here to support our industry and we will be supporting farmers through a joint approach with all other agricultural bodies and processors on the Island.  Over the next week we will be reviewing Covid-19 action plans with the Primary Processors and we will be offering any support we can to help them keep functioning normally.

The Agricultural Marketing Society will be setting up a ‘rural support’ Facebook group to better help farmers and livestock keepers communicate and pool resources, we would like all of our members to join the group when invited.

Manx NFU are fully aware we have a large population in the rural sector that are not on social media so we would also encourage people to set up text alerts with the high risk or elderly neighbours, even just a text a day to check they are well, it does not need to be intrusive but it could be the first alert that they have fallen ill.

16th March 2020

The advice from your Manx NFU is ‘be prepared’, it is better to take ten minutes now on a contingency plan update.

Take some time and think about the day to day activities on farm that would be affected if you and your family were incapacitated or bedridden.  Write a step by step list of the daily activities in the order you would normally do them am/pm.  This list is equally as relevant for someone who has never been on farm as it is for family members or farm workers.  You may think they know everything that you do but at times of pressure no one is infallible and they will miss something important.

Have a plan that someone who has never been on your farm before could follow, along with a list of daily activity’s and feeding times, it should include a map of the full holding or written permission for anyone asking in a help capacity to receive a copy of your full agricultural holding map from DEFA and along with this permission there should be a list of any seasonal grazing you are using.

Some of the other questions you should consider are;

  • Who would Milk the Cows?
  • What is due to Calve or Lamb?
  • What is the feed regimes and where is the feed kept?
  • Livestock medical records/under treatment?
  • Where is the livestock and how many should there be?
  • Which Bull will kill you if you look at it wrong?
  • When the vacuum pump stops working where do I hit it with the hammer?
  • Contact details for the vet or feed suppliers?
  • Any other information relevant to your farm?

Self-Isolation, protecting yourself and the farm;

For most farmers this is probably very easy, too easy in fact!  If you’re looking to close off the farm from visitors it will most likely be a case of close the gate or block the lane with a bale of silage and a polite note written on it in sheep marker + carry on farming.

  • Who are you in contact with on a day to day basis?
  • Who are you telling that everything is ok?

We strongly recommend picking a friend or neighbour and agreeing a daily check in with each other and an agreement to help out if needed.

The Manx NFU already have members checking in with us daily and if you’re worried about not knowing who to check in with then than we are here for you, a phone call, a text, anything.  Just keep us up to date and if you were to be incapacitated we can help facilitate someone to look after your livestock.

In all of this we await formal government advice on how to deal with this crisis, advice which will have been compiled by scientific advisers across all sectors and we hope once this advice is published it will give some reassurances where needed.

Lesh yeearreeyn share – with best wishes

Andrew Cooper
General Secretary Manx NFU

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