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Fighting the Coronavirus: Best Practices on Your Dairy

Fighting the Coronavirus: Best Practices on Your Dairy
By Greg Strait
As we watch and listen to the news trying to gain information on the COVID-19, we all are still learning. The pandemic has changed how we all operate our businesses. Keep in mind that without employees or yourself in the operation how will daily routines get accomplished?
Below is a list of common practices that need to be done more frequently on your operation:
  • Frequent handwashing is of utmost importance even for your employees during milking. In the industry we have been requesting the use of gloves during milking to decrease the spread of bacteria. This will also help in the defense of COVID-19. A good resource would be to download the handwashing poster from Penn State Extension and post it over all hand washing stations on the farm. The free downloadable handwashing poster can be found at the Penn State Extension Website.
  • Place hand sanitizers throughout your operation and anti-bacterial soap at your hand washing stations. In restroom facilities use single use paper towels instead of washable towels to help reduce the chance of contamination.
  • Break rooms, lunch areas, and restrooms are places for workers to contract COVID-19 or any other bacteria/virus. You need to develop a cleaning routine for these common areas. Sanitize the counter tops, doorknobs, and other commonly used surfaces daily. The Center for Disease Control has articles on sanitizing procedures. Download the procedures from their website.
  • Be cognizant that hired employees may live paycheck to paycheck, so workers should be instructed not to come to work if they are feeling sick. A healthy worker is more beneficial and productive than a sick worker. If they are feeling ill or suspect that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should contact their health care provider and self-quarantine for minimum of 14 days. Anyone experiencing symptoms of the virus are urged to contact their health care provider immediately.
  • Many dairies have a diverse workforce. Keep in mind that traveling between states and countries is common. Please be aware of and adhere to the current travel bans that are in place. These may be changing frequently.
  • A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for an event like an outbreak that reduces your workforce is recommended. The question(s) remain is to how your dairy will operate with fewer employees if an outbreak happens? Your operation needs to have an SOP in place so that workers understand how essential functions will be handled and what temporary changes might need to be put into place.. Keep in mind that this will not be for one day but a minimum of 14 days. Plan accordingly.
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