Relief for farmers as marts to re-open under strict coronavirus Covid-19 protocols

Michaela O'Dea

Reporter:

Michaela O'Dea

coronavirus covid-19

The Department of Agriculture have agreed on strict coronavirus Covid-19 protocols which will allow for the operation of marts across Ireland. 

Under the measures marts will be able to operate with limited services and these will take effect this morning. Some acts will be carried out behind closed doors, where the public will not be able to attend. 

These measures include:

  • Marts matching buyers and sellers of animals.
  • Marts will weigh animals and oversee the sale.
  • Each mart will be required to submit operating protocols to the Department, which will then be reviewed for approval.

A minimum number of staff will be onsite in marts in the coming weeks. Sellers are expected to deliver calves by appointment. Similarly, with older livestock for weighting, that will also be conducted through appointment. 

It is hoped that these measures hope to reduce face-to-face contact and ensure than social distancing and hygiene measures can be adhered to. 

The measures were announced by the Minster for Agriculture Michael Creed.

“My Department and I are in touch with stakeholders across the sector on a daily basis to share contingency planning and address issues as they arise, as part of the whole of Government response.  Arising from this continued dialogue and cognisant of the advice of the Government, today I am confirming that;  

"My Department is to issue guidance to marts on a very  limited range of essential services that comply with Government guidelines and do not require people to assemble. These included measures to facilitate calf sales and the weighing of livestock, and on line or brokerage services, and are subject to the approval of Standard Operating Procedures by my Department. 

"For the next two weeks routine Departmental on-farm visits will not be taking place, unless required on a risk basis. Essential services, such as disease control or reactor removal will continue. This will be kept under review as the situation evolves.  Some inspections such as under the  ‘Young Farmer Scheme’ are being conducted by telephone,” he said.