Farm & Ranch - March 2020


MARCH 2020

Farm Bureau president: Be prepared for COVID-19 While higher population areas at more of a risk, rural areas face unique challenges with spread

tion with state and federal officials fo- cused on addressing disruptions and main- taining a safe food supply. “Farmers and ranch- ers play a critical role in assuring the safety and abundance of our nation’s food supply. In the face of COVID-19, it is imperative we as agricultural produc- ers do our part to help maintain our food sys- tem. That means being prepared on our op- erations and taking personal responsibili- ty and precautions to help slow the potential spread of the virus. By protecting ourselves, our communities, and our farms and ranch- es, Nebraska farmers and ranchers can play a positive role in work- ing with Nebraskans to collectively address the challenges posed by COVID-19,” Nelson said.

age capacity for fuel and other inputs if there is an extended shortage? » Communicate with those with whom you do busi- ness. Stay in close contact with your business partners — including both input suppliers and those to whom you sell commodities and products. Doing so will give you the best information to make decisions. Are pro- cessors, co-ops, etc., accepting delivery? Are they running nor- mal schedules and hours? » Communicate any disruptions. If you experience or hear of disrup- tions in supply chains alert Nebraska Farm Bureau immedi- ately via email at information@nefb. org. Nebraska Farm Bureau will continue to exchange informa-

over the phone or on- line when possible can help limit in-person visits and potential ex- posure. » Plan for possible labor shortages. Ask yourself — what is my plan if my farm help can only work limited hours due to school closings or oth- er events? Are there things my employ- ees can do remotely via technology if they can’t be there in per- son? Do I have others who can help if my current labor force is unavailable? » Plan for possible supply/input short- ages. Do I have a back- up for feed, fuel, and other inputs in the event my normal chan- nels or supply lines are disrupted? Do I have enough sup- plies on-hand to weather short-term disruptions? Do I have enough on-farm stor-

farmers and ranchers to consider, covering topics from personal health to operational preparedness. “There’s no reason for panic, but every reason to plan ahead and be prepared,” Nelson said. The preparedness list includes: » Protect personal health of farm/ranch owner/operators and employees. Personal health is an important first step. Washing hands fre- quently, disinfecting shared surfaces, and making sure soap and other sanitization sup- plies are available to employees is a key first step. Strengthening immune systems by taking vitamins and making good food choices is another way to stay healthy. For ex- ample, beef is good source of zinc that keeps immune systems strong. Doing business

Telegraph staff reports LINCOLN — Nebraska Farm Bureau is advising farmers, ranchers and other rural Nebraskans not to un- derestimate the risk posed by the potential spread of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson is en- couraging farmers and ranchers to prepare for possible impacts to their rural communi- ties and agricultural operations. “I know some may view the COVID-19 outbreak as only a concern to our state’s high-density popula- tion centers, but make no mistake, the poten-

tial for the spread of COVID-19 to rural ar- eas is real,” Nelson said in a press release. “It’s especially serious considering the unique challenges rural hos- pitals and health care providers may face in treating and con- taining the virus. It’s imperative we all do our part to try and slow the spread of this highly contagious dis- ease. It’s also critical we make sure our farm and ranch operators are ready to deal with possible ramifications in the event of expand- ed spread.” To aid agriculture producers in preparing for potential COVID-19 expansion, Nebraska Farm Bureau devel- oped a list of things for

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