Dairy industry steps up its response to COVID-19

By Geoff Adams

Dairy farmers are wrestling with unprecedented new staff management restrictions and sorting out new guidelines for farm visits from vets to milk tankers, as the coronavirus threat increases.

Although farms are classified as essential industries because of food production, new regulations are forcing farmers to implement separation between employees and increase hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile processors are looking for more milk as spot demand increases from panic buying and stockpiling.

The Australian Dairy Industry Council has convened a task force to speak on behalf of the industry and to provide advice to governments.

The group comprises representatives from Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and Dairy Australia.

As containment measures around Australia continue to escalate, governments have acknowledged that food and agriculture businesses, including dairy and all supply components, are essential services and are implementing measures to keep supply chains operating.

The working group has developed advice on issues including:

●How to milk cows while maintaining social distancing.

●How to manage staff coming on and off farm.

●How to address supply issues that may disrupt operations for farms and factories.

●Protocols for managing milk collection.

●Questions consumers may have regarding the safety of dairy operations.

The ADIC has also written to all federal and state agriculture and health ministers for their support to ensure dairy operations across Australia remain open during escalating restrictions.

The VFF has welcomed the announcement by Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes that agriculture is an essential service.

VFF president David Jochinke said the VFF had been working closely with the Victorian Government to ensure that agribusiness can continue to operate.

To see the new library of resources, visit the Dairy Industry COVID-19 Directory online at: www.dairyaustralia.com.au/about-dairy-australia/about-the-industry/dairy-industry-covid19-directory