Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our main priority is keeping farmers, food producers and staff healthy and safe. We're closely monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health regarding the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Wednesday, 18 March 2020

We are at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

Check out the Government's information about COVID-19 Alert Level 2 here

Advice for farmers on managing their feed in light of reduced processing capacity and feed constraints across the country

B+LNZ is urging farmers to act now to ensure they have enough feed, given processing capacity constraints and the natonwide challenging growing conditions. 

Drystock farmers can also call 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or email drought& to speak to someone who can help them determine how much feed they have and identifying options for managing any issues.

Dairy farmers can call 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 3247969).

Please also check out the following website page that includes a checklist and key resources:

This webpage contains a farmer checklist for feed shortages.

New Zealand Farm Assurance Incorporated (NZFAI) & COVID-19

Read how NZFAI is dealing with the on-farm audit process during COVID-19 here.

Case studies 

B+LNZ has also commissioned case studies from around the country that provide real life examples of the best handling the current drought situation from a feed and financial perspective that may be useful for farmers as they consider their tactical and strategic decisions.

  1. B+LNZ Drought Management Regional Case Study – Dargaville, Northland (PDF, 367KB)
  2. Future Farm Feed Management Case Study (PDF, 486KB)
  3. B+LNZ Regional Case Study – Southland (PDF, 1MB)
  4. Hawke's Bay Feed Management AgFirst Case Study (PDF, 9MB)
  5. Hawke's Bay Feed Management AgFirst Case Study – Progress Report as at 22 May 2020 (PDF, 385KB)

Guidance for farmers for operating as an essential services

COVID-19 Ten Point Plan

This document gives an overview of the 10 factors farmers could consider when planning their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Download COVID-19 Ten Point Plan (PDF, 56KB)

For more detailed information about farm protocols go to:

Download COVID-19 protocols on farms (PDF, 267KB)

When the unexpected happens, what happens to your farm?

This document is intended as a simple guide to allow family, friends or neighbours to come in and tend to the immediate needs of your livestock.

Download Farm Operations Manual (PDF, 477KB)

MOU between owner/manager and employee

This document is a letter that a farmer may wish to sign with each of your staff members so that everyone is clear on expectations.

Download COVID-19 MOU with staff (PDF, 160KB)

Information for staff going to and from work

We are aware that farm workers could be stopped on the way to work by police.

This is a link to a draft letter that staff can carry to and from work:

Essential Services Employee Movement Declaration (PDF, 123KB)

In addition, staff should carry a form of identification (e.g. driver’s license). 

It would also be helpful for each worker to carry the day’s job sheet or other documentation showing where they are going and what they will be doing.  Keep it simple, do not write a book.

B+LNZ's email updates to farmers during COVID-19

Thursday 23 April 2020: Joint B+LNZ,  MIA and DairyNZ update to farmers

Thursday 9 April 2020: Joint B+LNZ and MIA update to farmers

Tuesday 31 March 2020: Joint B+LNZ and MIA update to farmers

Thursday 26 March 2020 update to farmers

Tuesday 24 March 2020 update to farmers

Monday 23 March 2020 update to farmers

As the situation changes, we will update this page and post information on B+LNZ’s social media pages.

What you need to know about COVID-19

Everything you need to know about the virus, how it passes person to person and what to do to reduce the risk of getting infected, you can find on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Frequently asked questions

For information about registering, how to keep your business operating during Alert four and more – view the B+LNZ and Federated Farmers FAQs below.

Download B+LNZ & Federated Farmers COVID-19 FAQs (PDF, 213KB)

Farming and food production an "essential service"

The Government announced that the country’s COVID-19 alert level raised to a Level 4 at 11.59pm, 25 March. The Government anticipates that this level will last for at least four weeks. See the Government announcement here. In light of the government’s decision, only “essential services” are able to stay open and to operate.

Our advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that farmers, processing plants, and key elements of the supply chain that support farming and processors are considered essential services.

List of "essential services"
The current description of "essential services" can be found here and MPI released a more detailed list of the types of agricultural support services deemed to be essential.  You can find the new additional list here.

Shearing as an essential service: For information about shearing as an essential service, go to the New Zealand Shearers Association website here:

Who needs to register?
Businesses with more than 5 people (including the owner) working at each business site, or who cannot achieve social distancing between staff, need to register.  Check the criteria and find the registration form here

The business will need to answer 11 questions to provide assurances they have a plan and process to manage infection risks. MPI is asking all businesses that need to register to do so by Friday 5:00pm on Friday 27 March 2020.  Businesses that believe they qualify as an “essential service” are able to continue operating while they are going through the registration process.

View MPI's FAQ with further useful information here

If you are unsure if you need to register, or if your business is covered by the updated essential services information, you can call MPI on 0800 00 83 33 or email

What is your NZBN number?
Part of the registering process is stating your NZBN. If you have internet access – go to and type in your business name in the search bar. “Registered businesses have been automatically assigned an NZBN. Sole traders, partnerships and trusts can apply to get one via this website” If you don’t have an NZBN you will also need to Create a “RealMe” login. You will need your IRD Number and other documentation to verify who you are. For sole traders and partnerships, you will need a driver licence or passport -to enter details.

B+LNZ events

We are taking a cautious approach and have postponed all face to face B+LNZ events until further notice. The policy will be continuously reviewed.

However, keep an eye out for our online events by following our social media accounts. 

It is paramount we protect our food producers and the rest of the red meat supply chain to keep this crucial part of the New Zealand economy going. Ours is one of the industries that has so far been able to continue, and it is vital for our farmers and all New Zealanders that we take all measures to protect our second largest export sector and largest manufacturing employer. 

We are conscious, for example, that if a farmer gets infected, they will have few options for getting assistance on their farm.  

We will be increasing other ways that farmers can stay in touch with each other and get the tools and information needed: such as social media; potential delivery of workshops online; webinars; and emails.

Looking after yourself and your communities

We would also encourage farmers to reach out to their neighbours over the phone or email and discuss ways they could support each other, if for example, someone were to become sick. 

If you are feeling unwell and develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or contact your GP, including phoning ahead of your visit.

The coming months are likely to be difficult for New Zealand, and it’s important that we look after each other and follow the latest advice from the Ministry of Health.

Rural Support is also always available on 0800 787 254.

Our tips for on-farm safety

  • Contractors/visitors only enter your farm by pre-phone approval IF you have not got symptoms and have not travelled overseas.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap.
  • Use  sanitiser.
  • Sneeze/cough into your elbow and away from people.
  • Avoid contact with anyone  who has travelled overseas.
  • If you develop a runny nose, cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, stay away from others.

Your responsibility as an employer

Federated Farmers has prepared a helpful factsheet on farmer employer responsibilities, including what to do if your employee is sick or is required to self-isolate – download the factsheet here.

If you have employees from overseas who may normally be planning a trip home at this time of the year, think through the implications of travel restrictions and how you may be able to support them to keep in touch with family remotely.

B+LNZ internal procedures and protecting our staff

Since early March we have suspended all international travel for staff, with the handful of staff who were overseas at the time being required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return. We have also reduced domestic travel to absolutely essential purposes that cannot be delayed.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. We will be constantly reviewing our approach and keeping farmers updated.

Rural Support Trust

The Rural Support Trust are there to support farming families. Please don’t hesitate to seek assistance. 0800 RURAL HELP or

More information