MDA informs farmers of new COVID-19 preparedness plan

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture announced a new policy requiring all Minnesota farmers to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that complies with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID-19 guidelines and OSHA standards.

According to MDA, by June 29, 2020, all critical sector businesses, including all farms and farmers’ markets, must complete the develop and implement the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

Farmers have a range from of templates to choose from, including an MSGA template tailored specifically to farmers.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has created a preparedness plan template that includes all required plan components and is available in multiple languages. Minnesota farmers can use other templates, such as this produce farm-specific plan from the University of Minnesota Extension, if all components outlined in the DLI template are addressed.

The Extension plan is comprised of prompts to help farmers identify risks across the farm farm, with lists of suggested practices to minimize risks. Farmers can use this template (after adapting it to their operation) as their farm’s official COVID-19 response plan, or use the questions in it to inform your plan.

MDA is hosting a webinar this week Friday, June 26, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Farmers can register here for Friday’s webinar to participate and learn more about the COVID-19 Preparedness Plans for farm and farm businesses, who should have one and what they should include. Presenters will be from Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and University of Minnesota Extension.

MDA also announced another webinar, set for Tuesday, June 30, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Farmers can register here

These webinars will cover the basic requirements that all critical businesses have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as well as highlight resources such as templates that farms can use to create a plan. Preparedness Plans are intended to assist and support businesses in protecting employees, customers, and all Minnesotans from COVID-19. Plans will not need to be submitted to any regulatory entity unless requested.

For additional information or assistance in developing a plan, businesses can contact Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) Workplace Safety Consultation at 651-284-5060 or osha.consultation@state.mn.us

For more COVID-19 resources specific to farms, visit MDA COVID-19 Food and Agriculture. Questions may be sent to MDAResponds@state.mn.us

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