Farming consultants have created an emergency document to help farmers plan ahead in case they fall ill during the coronavirus pandemic.
With sheep enterprises in particular facing a challenging lambing season, farmers are being urged to make a plan B as soon as possible.
The Emergency Plan template, created by the Farm Advisory Service (FAS), allows farmers to record the names and numbers of key contacts such as vets, feed representatives, accountants and contractors.
They can also provide information about where stock is housed – including in isolated facilities such as outlying steadings and out-winterings, and when lambing or calving is due to start.
Chloe McCulloch, Principal Consultant at SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College which delivers the FAS programme, urged farmers to complete the document as soon as possible.
“The key to success this year, regardless of the type of farm, is to have a robust plan and to take some time now to think through what you would do and who you would phone in the event you or members of the team become unwell,” she said.
“The template won’t take long to complete and will ensure that if you become ill, your livestock can still be cared for.”
Farmers can download the template from the FAS website and are advised to keep it somewhere that is accessible to all staff, such as the farm office.
More templates allowing farmers to record sector-specific information are also available on the website, together with additional guidance and information, including support for less experienced people who may find themselves helping on the farm.
There are also links to other sources of support during the crisis and information about how they are able to help with this specific challenge, including the farmers’ charity RSABI which can be contacted on 0300 111 4166 for help preparing an emergency plan or putting farmers in touch with a labour exchange or consultant.