Minnesota Department of Ag requiring farms to develop COVID preparedness plans
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is asking farms, farmers’ markets, and other agricultural businesses to develop and implement a COVID-19 preparedness plan by the end of the month.
MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen tells Brownfield this is especially important on farms with employees or where there’s a lot of interaction with the public.
“They really just want to follow the basic guidelines. What are your social distancing ideas? Hand washing, wear masks where appropriate, limit exposure to the public. If you have employees, don’t have them come to work obviously if they’re sick.”
While the Department of Ag is requiring COVID preparedness plans on farms, Petersen says there are currently no enforcement mechanisms.
“Unless you’re over like 10 employees, then you would be subject to OSHA guidelines perhaps. So we’re just hoping that it’s in the best interest of farms to have a plan.”
Petersen has asked the Governor’s Office to extend the COVID preparedness plan deadline beyond June 29th to give farms more time. He says there are resources on MDA’s website, and several farm groups in the state are developing their own templates as well.