Protecting farm workers during COVID-19

Beth Doran MUG.jpg

ORANGE CITY, Iowa — By now everyone has seen messages on how to protect themselves from COVID-19. Farmers are also encouraged to take measures to protect both on- and off-farm employees.

While most of the messages feature the home setting, these guidelines also apply to businesses, such as farms with workers.

The most important step is to ask employees how they are feeling and encourage workers to stay home when they are ill. Unfortunately, some sick workers are showing up to work — fearing they will lose their job if absent.

I encourage farms and other businesses to implement procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing is critical. Promote physical distancing when possible by staggering starts, breaks and work locations, and increase the space in break rooms or outside lunch areas.


Provide personal protective equipment, such as masks or bandannas, for workers.

When possible, clean and disinfect shared tools and equipment and ensure that workers have access to areas and supplies where they can wash their hands.

I urge all farmers to adopt these measures.

These guidelines not only protect your employees, but also your family members, neighbors and communities. Please, do it for everyone.

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