All farms operating require a safety plan

The Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program is reminding the region’s agricultural producers that all businesses, including farms that have continued to operate during “NY PAUSE” must have a safety plan in place.

Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists across the state have been working to develop resources and tools for farms to use to develop a plan specific to their farm to meet the requirement and help reduce liability risk. For local assistance, or with help obtaining paper resources where internet access is an issue, farms can reach out to Katelyn Walley-Stoll, farm business management specialist, by calling 640-0522.

For food-producing farms, the plans do not need to be submitted or certified with any agency, but they do need to be drafted, followed and available for review at a moment’s notice by employees, visitors or local health departments. The “NY Forward” initiative provides a base template for all businesses to use, available at forward.ny.gov. While farms do not need to use this format, they do need to develop a plan that covers:

¯ People — family, employees, vendors and visitors,

¯ Place — the work environment, shared equipment, and proper sanitization, and

¯ Process — mandatory health screenings, contact tracing and communication.

Farms should also incorporate recent guidance from the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, “Interim Guidance for Prevention and Response of COVID-19 at Farms,” available at agriculture.ny.gov. The guidance outlines recommended protocols and procedures for farms in the state. Additionally, the Cornell Agriculture Workforce Development program at Cornell University it hosting a series of webinars for industry specific guidance. All of the slides, recordings, and supporting resources are available at agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu. The tools were developed to help make it easier for farms to meet the new state mandate and remain in compliance while protecting the safety of the farmer and employees.


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