Concerns remain at Level 3

Clinton dairy farmer Madeline Anderson and her two children Beau(7) and Florence (8) take a break...
Clinton dairy farmer Madeline Anderson and her two children Beau(7) and Florence (8) take a break from calf feeding for a selfie. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Farmers’ concerns about the potential impact of Covid-19 remain despite the South moving to Covid-19 Alert Level 3 today.

New Zealand entered lockdown on August 18 due to a case of community transmission in Auckland of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

On Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed all of New Zealand south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 today.

Federated Farmers Southland president Chris Dillon, of Northern Southland near Balfour, said his ``biggest concern'' in Alert Level 4 was if the virus got on a farm and all of the staff had to leave the property to enter quarantine.

Warmer weather last week made setting up a break fence with kids in tow a lot easier for...
Warmer weather last week made setting up a break fence with kids in tow a lot easier for Middlemarch farmer Jacinta Stevenson. Pictured are Belle (3), Max (5) and Tessa Stevenson (6).

``If you get shipped off somewhere, who steps in?’’

Running another farmer's system would be a challenge for whoever stepped in, he said.

``We have to hope it doesn't happen but if it does happen — it's got to be friends, neighbours, whatever, that are going to have to make the call and do that.''

Ryan Campbell (7), of Clydevale,  was more than happy to spend his week of lockdown giving his...
Ryan Campbell (7), of Clydevale, was more than happy to spend his week of lockdown giving his mum, Sandra, a hand in the calf shed.
Federated Farmers Otago president Mark Patterson, of Lawrence, said the biggest difference at Alert Level 3 for farmers would be the ability to access childcare services.

Spring was a busy time for farmers and although many were under pressure and understaffed, they were thankful they and rural service industries could continue working in lockdown, unlike some businesses in other sectors.

``There are some people in worse situations than we are but sometimes that doesn't make it any easier.''

Otago Rural Support Trust chairman Mike Lord, of Berwick, said the trust had not received any calls relating to the impact of Covid-19.

``I think farmers are in reasonable shape.''

Being able to continue the day-to-day running of the farm was beneficial to farmers' mental health, he said.

Farmers were busy in spring so he urged them to maintain their mental health by eating well, sleeping as much as possible and talking on the phone to people.

In a bid to keep Covid-19 off farms he urged farmers to remain vigilant and take measures to protect themselves from the virus including wearing a mask in public, using sanitiser and staying away from large groups of people.

``Do whatever you can to stop this disease coming on to your farm.''

Jo Hay snapped this photo while she and her family shifted the daily breaks on their North Otago...
Jo Hay snapped this photo while she and her family shifted the daily breaks on their North Otago farm. From left: Phoebe (10), Archie (7), Ross, and Charlie (12) Hay.

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