A Farmer's Perspective
Read about a farmer who recently tested positive for COVID
After enduring COVID19 and isolating for 10 days, I was asked to give my opinion on how we managed the farm, family and staff. Regardless of how people think of COVID19, whether it's a she’ll be right mentality or you have ordered a pallet of Vitamin C along with toilet roll, the reality is you're going to get sick.
We were prepared with a COVID plan. We knew our legal obligations around milk pick up and we knew we needed to be a step ahead. The virus hit us pretty hard and happened within a day of first contact. Within those first 24hrs I had rung our neighbours, our 2IC, Fonterra (area manager and milk collection), our bank, school and thereafter kept everyone updated. We had a designated drop off point for food, medication and anything that was needed for the farm. We were able to work most of the days out of necessity and kept away from our 2IC. We had to amend our milking times to be able to use a relief milker. To put things in perspective, adults were double vaxed with boosters. Kids not vaccinated. We still caught the virus but certainly didn’t need any outside medical intervention or Hospitalisation. COVID will affect people differently.
We got very sick and it was tough watching the kids going through it. We lived on paracetamol, vitamins and electrolytes and we used my "My Food Bag". We put the farm on sleep mode for about 5 days. We didn’t want to overwhelm staff with the extra workload so we kept the jobs to essential along with milking. I would suggest checking your calendar and canceling all your appointments. We had a shed inspection during COVID but all went well. In hindsight I would have cleared the calendar. We did have people call to the door and had to tell them our situation, most were thankful for our honesty, some were less than pleased. Public perception has shown me people are scared and nervous. At one point when the fever hit hard and the body ached and every orifice was evacuating someone drove into the driveway and I sure I heard, bring out your dead! But after day 6 we were on the mend.
If I had to do it again, I would have attached a sign at the gate : No entry, we are isolating.
It was stressful and looking back now I probably should not have tried to work through and most farmers will do that. I think stress along with the virus was a double whammy. We were fortunate we knew we were going to get it as our son had tested positive from school , others may not be so lucky. It is extremely contagious and it will go through families and staff if you are not careful. On the positive side you will get through it. Farmers are incredibly adaptive at what is thrown at them and good at planning ahead. It pays to be prepared!