The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has created a national emergency and an unprecedented public health crisis. Maryland & Virginia is adapting to serve the needs of our farmer-owners, our customers and our employees.
We are reassured that there has been NO evidence of the transmission of COVID-19 to humans from food or food packaging. Milk and dairy products are as safe and wholesome as they have always been.
Maryland & Virginia is continuing to supply customers without interruptions. Our cooperative has a strong milk supply, distribution network and ample processing capabilities.
To our customers, please let us know how we can serve you. We are committed to maintaining our quality of customer service and to providing access to fresh local milk and dairy ingredients during. Customers can contact their sales representative for more details or call our customer service hotline at 1-844-287-1970 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
To our members and haulers, our member services team is available to assist you should you need us. Producer payroll, logistics and distribution, are all operating without disruptions. It is business as usual, with added measures of precaution for health and hygiene of all involved.
On March 19, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated its guidance clarifying which sectors are deemed “critical infrastructure.” The dairy supply chain, from farm to fork, has been identified as essential critical infrastructure and as such, employees have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations.
National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has developed a template work permit for food and agriculture employees to use that explains the DHS guidance and asks relevant authorities to grant employees permission to travel to and from work. Along with the permit itself, the document also defines who is considered a food and agriculture employee for critical-infrastructure purposes. Download the template by clicking the links below:
- Essential Food and Agricultural Employee Mobilization Permit Template (available in Spanish for reference only)
- Essential Food and Agricultural Employee Work Permit Instructions (English and Spanish)
Resources for Members
Find more in-depth resources on COVID-19 visit the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) website.
- Dairy Farmer Handbook on Coronavirus Prevention and Management (English and Spanish), NMPF
- What dairy farmers must know about COVID-19, Hoard’s Dairyman
- Novel Coronavirus Prevention & Control for Farms, Cornell University Agricultural Workforce Development
- What You Need to Know Now About Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Your Dairy (English and Spanish), AllTech
- Posters: What You Need to Know Now About Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Your Dairy (English and Spanish), AllTech
- Staying Proactive on the Farm: COVID-19 (English and Spanish), Adapted from Dairy Farmers of America materials
- COVID-19 and Your Dairy Webinar, Cornell University Agricultural Workforce Development
- COVID-19: 5 Things Your Farm Should Do Now, Farm Journal
- Five Crisis Planning Tips to Combat COVID-19, Dairy Herd Management
- Resources Available to Address COVID-19, Dairy Herd Management
- Be Prepared: What Should Employers Do About the Coronavirus?, National Law Review
- Stress & Wellness Resources, Center for Dairy Excellence
- What Farmers Need to Know About Sick Leave Requirements
- Recommended Protocols When a Dairy Farm Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19
- Temporary Guidance for Veterinarians & Producers about Telemedicine and the VCPR
The CDC provides clear guidance about preventing infection in both English and Spanish. It also provides a number of printable factsheets and posters in English and Spanish suitable for use in the workplace. Those resources are available here.
Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for Dairy Farmers
If you are a dairy farmer whose operation has been impacted by coronavirus, you are likely to be eligible for direct support through USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). CFAP provides support to producers who have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline due to COVID-19.
Dairy farmers can apply for assistance now through August 28, 2020. Call and set up an appointment with your local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to determine your eligibility and to apply for this assistance.
Applicants have 60 days after signing the application to submit the required documentation. Payment will not be made until document requirements are met. Applications and necessary documentation can be submitted in person, by mail, e-mail, or fax.
Milk marketing volume data for Q1 2020 will be required for the calculation of the payment for each operation. Maryland & Virginia members can find this information on their March 2020 settlement statement that was issued in mid-April. If members are unable to find their statement, please contact your field representative or the Producer Payroll Department at 800-552-1976 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Producers raising cattle for beef may also qualify for the cattle payment. Cattle used for, or intended to be used for, milk production do not fit the program definition for payments to make up for losses from cattle marketing.
Specific Guidance to Haulers on COVID-19
Maryland & Virginia has provided guidance to our milk haulers about how they can prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have advised them to follow the steps below while collecting milk at member farms and delivering to processing facilities:
- All haulers delivering to a Maryland & Virginia facility must wear a facemask or other protective gear that covers the mouth and nasal area while in the receiving bays.
- Drivers should be only entering essential areas of the farm/plant
- Drivers should only be in contact with essential farm/plant personnel
- Do not share breakrooms with farm/plant personnel
- Avoid non-essential conversations or hand shaking
- Drivers should maintain disinfecting wipes for cleaning contact surfaces within cab of truck, especially if truck is used by multiple drivers
- Drivers should be practicing good personal hygiene including:
- Laundered/clean clothing
- Frequent hand washing
- Wear gloves while on-farm (or at a plant) and dispose of gloves and wash hands before departing each farm (plant)
- Carry hand sanitizer, use after coming in contact with frequently touched surfaces
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth