by Glyn Roberts, FUW President
It is clear that the Coronavirus situation is causing concern in all aspects of daily life, and it looks like the situation will get worse before improving. the agricultural industry is no exception to this, and it is inevitable that our industry will be affected. Unfortunately it is not possible to know what the situation will be in a week, let alone months.
Firstly, I would like to remind our members of Government advice, in particular, the following:
• the most common symptom of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a persistent cough or/and a high temperature. If you have any of these, stay at home and don’t leave your home for 14 days. You do not have to phone the Health service for self- isolation. If the symptoms worsen during the period of self-isolation, or if they are not better after 7 days, contact the Health service 111. You should call 999 in a medical emergency.
• Wash your hands more regularly than usual, using soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. make sure you wash your hands after sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose, and after being in crowded areas. Use hand sanitiser if it’s not possible to wash your hands.
• to reduce the spread of diseases, when coughing or sneezing cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or use your arm sleeve if a tissue is not available. Do not use your hands. always use a tissue when possible.
• If you live with anyone else, and any of you show symptoms, every person living in the home should stay at home, and should not leave the home for 14 days. the 14 day period starts from the day the first person shows symptoms.
at such a busy time for many of us, it is quite common for us as sheep farmers to undertake an element of annual self- isolation! the lambing period is happening as usual, and hopefully the impact of this crisis will be over as soon as possible.
social contact must be reduced where possible, but as we all know, the work on the farm must continue. We all have an important role to play in sustaining our businesses and continuing to feed the nation. the impact of this crisis on the industry is unpredictable, but I have spoken to many who tell me that the small local shops are busy, with everyone still shopping for produce. It’s nice to see the public appreciating and supporting local shopping, and we will do everything we can to ensure the supply chain continues so that we can continue to offer our produce to the public.
In the middle of this concern, we are encouraged as a Union that the agricultural community has come together to support the most vulnerable in society. I am aware that many members of the Young Farmers’ Clubs have offered to organise volunteers to support the most vulnerable in our communities. this is a clear indication of the community spirit that exists in our rural communities. as a Union we will be discussing with the local representatives in each county and will offer any assistance we can during this time.
I’m asking Union members to support and keep an eye on others during the difficult times ahead, and I’m confident that you will, wherever possible, do your best to support others in your communities. this crisis will be challenging for us all, but as the industry has shown in the past, by supporting each other we will overcome this challenge like all past challenges.
I would like to reassure members that we are in regular contact with the Welsh Government, and that we will be advising County Officers on these matters as soon as possible. You can contact the local officers to discuss any issues.
the Union will continue to provide any assistance and advice during this national crisis, and will update its members with any information as soon as possible.