Farmers and crofters have been urged to avoid complacency around Covid-19 and do all they can to protect themselves, their families and staff from the virus.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick, who farms in Dumfries, made the plea in a blog post on the union’s website at a time when coronavirus restrictions are being tightened across Scotland.
“Here in Dumfries and Galloway in the past week we have gone from tier one with low incidence to the worst rate per 100,000 population in Scotland,” said Mr McCornick.
“And I am being told by members across the country that it is now much more prevalent in rural settings than it was earlier this year,” he said.He urged everyone working in the agricultural industry to take appropriate measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“This spike has shown why we need to avoid complacency and keep our guard up, particularly if we want to keep our businesses running and our stock looked after,” said Mr McCornick.
He called on farmers and crofters to ensure good biosecurity measures were in place on their holdings, such as limiting the number of people having access to the farm and recording who comes to the premises and when.
“We also need to plan for the worst while hoping for the best by having a contingency plan for scenarios where yourself, your family or your workforce get infected or required to self-isolate,” added Mr McCornick.
“Essential farm staff are recognised as key workers and if they are travelling to the farm it is advisable that you give them a letter to produce, if asked, showing their journey is essential.
“It is also essential they recognise they are part of your farm ‘bubble’ and accommodate that with their off-farm lives.”
He encouraged everyone to revisit the guidance for farmers on the Scottish Government’s website (https://bit.ly/2K2aEr0) and said: “Do not consider this virus an inconvenience.
“It can be, and has been, fatal in many families so please be considerate of others as well as yourself and obey the rules.”