Farm Worker and Food Safety

Safety remains a top priority across the food chain, with everyone—from the farm to the grocery store—doing their part to take great care and precautions to get food safely to your tables. Farmers must work alongside their employees and know how best to implement CDC guidelines on their individual farms. It is important for farms to institute a range of precautions, including daily employee briefings, periodic sanitation of equipment and housing, and posted signs about social distancing. We all depend on the security of our food supply. Protecting our nation’s farms and the men and women who keep them running will require our full attention across the agriculture industry to stay a step ahead in taking precautions and decisive action to promote the health of those on the frontlines of our food supply. 

Some things farmers can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 are: 

  • Screen and distance workers arriving to ensure health and safety 
  • Limit person-to-person interactions and create more distance between workers out in the field 
  • Provide food delivery services to limit workers’ exposure to community spread
  • Set up handwashing and sanitation stations in the field 
  • Provide additional cleaning and disinfectant supplies for worker housing 
  • Educate employees on safety and cleaning practices through posters and notices, as well as providing local health care and telemedicine information 
  • Establish a plan of action for quarantining sick employees to prevent spread

It is critical for the agriculture industry to demonstrate a recognition of the potential health risks and show efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Below are COVID-19 farmworker health guidance resources. 

The NC State Extension Farmworker Health and Safety Education Program has developed a series of introductory videos in Spanish focusing on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and farmworkers. They were developed as a resource for farmers, farm labor contractors and farmworkers to learn about the novel coronavirus and to promote preventative behavior within the overall farming community. The videos are in Spanish and use very simple and direct language to help everyone in our farm community understand the coronavirus pandemic. Find the video link below.