Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has thrown the worker shortage issue back to farmers, saying the industry must try harder to attract and retain workers.
Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says farming is classified as an essential service, so is milk and meat processing.
Lewis says that meat and dairy companies will continue to operate as the country moves into the highest level of alert for coronavirus from midnight Wednesday.
Lewis says the message to farmers is to carry on producing food while respecting the guidelines.
“We are good at producing food and the world needs food.”
Lewis says farmers are being urged to keep reasonable distance from visitors and avoid face-to-face interaction.
“Farmers will get tanker drivers, vets and technicians coming up their driveways.
“As farmers working alone, we sometimes crave for interaction with people but this is a serious situation and we must respect the guidelines issued by the PM.”
The Government has lifted coronavirus alert to Level 3 and is moving to Level 4 in 48 hours.
Lewis says the Prime Minister has spoken to Feds president Katie Milne.
He said all farmer organisatons- DairyNZ, Feds, DCANZ, MIA, Beef and Lamb NZ and meat and dairy processors are working hard to keep farmers informed.
“These are trying times; most people are working from home but there is a lot of hard work underway to keep farmers in the loop.”
“We are all in this together; let’s keep in touch by phone, text, email and social media with each other.”