Communicating COVID19 Farm Safety and Farm Worker Health on the Farm
Safety remains a top priority across the food chain, with everyone—from the farm to the grocery store—doing their part to take great care and precautions to get food safely to our Arizona and American families’ tables. Arizona Farm Bureau has been working hard to get the word out to farmer members regarding CDC guidelines and precautions, as well as guidance being developed by university experts and others specifically for farms.
In the meantime, here’s what some of our Arizona farmers and ranchers are doing to ensure healthy environments for farm workers.
- Farmers and ranchers are working alongside their employees and know how best to implement CDC guidelines on their individual farms.
- Other farms and ranches are communicating, planning and directing specific actions to ensure safety of farm workers.
- We know that many farms have instituted a range of precautions, including daily employee briefings, periodic sanitation of equipment and housing, and posted signs about social distancing.
"Farm workers and public health is our top priority on our farm," said Yuma produce farmer and Arizona Farm Bureau First Vice President John Boelts. "We use up-to-date information from trusted government, university extension and medical experts to form our policies and practices. The best researchers tell us how our employees should properly distance, report illnesses and clean commonly touched surfaces. They also tell us that our current, robust food safety systems will prevent food-born illness and the transfer of communicable human illnesses, like viruses."
Farm Worker Safety Resources
As a critical industry, it is important that ag-business employers communicate to their employees what can be done in the workplace to protect their employees and themselves. Below are resources for addressing the coronavirus in the workplace.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) –
- Farm Employer Labor Service Guidance – link
- Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development
Quick Solutions for Worker Safety
We all depend on the security of our food supply. Protecting our nation’s farms and the men and women who keep them running will require our full attention across the agriculture industry to stay a step ahead in taking precautions and decisive action to promote the health of those on the front lines of our food supply. Like all employers, farmers have a role to play in stopping the spread by educating and protecting their employees.
Farms come in all shapes and sizes, and circumstances will differ between them. Arizona Farm Bureau encourages farmers to evaluate their operations. Specifically, adopt ways to:
- Screen and distance workers arriving to ensure health and safety
- Limit person-to-person interactions and create more distance between workers out in the field
- Provide food delivery services to limit workers’ exposure to community spread
- Set up hand washing and sanitation stations in the field
- Provide additional cleaning and disinfectant supplies for worker housing
- Educate employees on safety and cleaning practices through posters and notices, as well as providing local health care and telemedicine information
- Establish a plan of action for quarantining sick employees to prevent spread
Like the rest of the country, farmers, ranchers and dairy farmers are taking this day by day, and as new information and resources become available from trusted sources like the CDC and land grant universities, farmers are responding. Everyone should continue to follow CDC guidance for hand washing whenever preparing or eating food.
To stay constantly updated, go to Arizona Farm Bureau’s website and our specific page covering ag-specific information on COVID-19.
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