Farmers doing their best to keep Covid at bay

They’re already some of the most isolated people in the country but farmers are still ensuring they are doing their bit to keep Covid at bay.

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It's a busy time of the year with calving and lambing in full swing and that's raising some concerns. Source: 1 NEWS

By Katie Stevenson

Spring is a busy time of year with lambing, calving and crop planting all underway.

Mid-Canterbury Farmer David Clarke has been working hard.

“We’re just having to work really carefully and safely so that we can get through this”

He’s been planting crop.

“It’s imperative that we keep going from a crop point of view to ensure that next year’s food is being grown, but also from an animal point of view, we’ve got a lot of stock here on farm as all farmers do.”

For dairy farmer Nick Giera, lockdown isn’t actually too different to everyday life.

“At this time of year we experience a kind of a lockdown anyway over calving because we're really busy on farm.”

And while farmers are safely managing any Covid risks on their own properties, there’s concern something could go wrong elsewhere.

“If the meat processors getting Covid into their plants we've got a lot of animals to go off farm in the next eight weeks and any hold up in that could be devastating for those animals going off to market," Giera said.

"Likewise for dairy farmers if there was any problem with Covid getting into the milk processing factories that would be a huge problem.”

The agriculture minister says meat processors are still operating but the number of animals has declined under Alert Level 4.

Damien O’Connor says it’s important for farmers to have contingency plans in place to ensure the wellbeing of their stock, but to also make sure they’re supporting each other.

Clarke says that’s crucial.

“We've got to get through this on a multiple levels, business wise and health wise mentally everybody's got to get through this so its imperative farmers keep in touch with each other and make sure that everybody's doing okay.”