Trumpeter Swan Farm
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COVID-19 Pandemic Plan
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COVID-19 Pandemic Plan
Trumpeter Swan Farm
March 3, 2019

Our plan for continuous farm operation during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic.


We are in uncharted territory. We don't know how this pandemic will play out, and neither do the experts. One thing is certain, this does have the ability to significantly affect our community, our farm business, and our members. Some basic planning will help us keep on track as we go forward.

Also, as we do our planning, keep in mind a quote from Mark Twain.

"I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened."

What We Know

The virus behaves like a cold or flu. In fact, it's in the family of viruses that cause half of all human colds. Unfortunately, it's more aggressive than typical cold and flu, and drives deeper into the throat and lungs. There is no treatment beyond "rest and plenty of fluids", as it's a virus, and can only be cured after our bodies create enough antibodies to corral the invading virus particles.

Most people recover, but some succumb to pneumonia. And like the Spanish Flu of 1918, it may subside during the summer and then return next fall and winter.

Supply Chain Disruptions

We don't have a lot of items coming from China or distant places, so we are not affected much. However, we could certainly expect to see delays in shipments as labor disruptions occur in the warehouse and delivery service areas.

We will examine our inventory and make sure we are ready to proceed into the coming growing season.

  • Masks - we have enough N95 masks on hand for barn cleaning, safety, and if needed, transmission prevention.
  • Gloves - we have enough disposables (rubber gloves) for oil changes, chemical handling, and if needed, transmission prevention. We will double our standard inventory of re-usable washable gloves that are used for farm work, which can also be used, if needed, for transmission prevention. They are washable so they can be washed in normal bleach sanitized washing machine loads along with our normal drying towels.
  • Bleach - we have 6 gallons on hand. Enough for laundry and sanitation.
  • Strawberry boxes - inventory and order now.
  • Trays and buckets - inventory and order if needed.
  • CSA boxes - inventory and order now.
  • Gasoline and Diesel - order in next 2 weeks.
Social Distancing

If the outbreak gathers steam, people will avoid public areas. They will tend to avoid optional trips like dining out or clothes shopping, making only required trips to places selling necessities like the grocery store and household mechandise store.

We do home delivery, so that will be unaffected, unless some sort of community lockdown is ordered. And even then, it is likely that delivery services will be allowed to continue.

We also do the Buffalo Farmers Market, which would be affected, as it's a gathering of people. We sell a limited number of items, and would not be substantially hurt by the lack of sales. We will follow whatever plan the market adopts.

Financial Disruptions

We are probably looking at a recession, where some segments, like travel and entertainment are most affected. We provide a necessity, food, so we will be less impacted. However, members income may be affected by work disruptions. Economic downturn could also affect members income.

We will continue to be flexible. Food is a basic necessity, so we want to continue to produce and deliver it. Plus, our crops continue to grow and produce regardless of the situation. We shall be flexible with delayed payment requests.

Team Disruptions

All of us workers on the farm could become sick at some point, or have family members that get sick. At the same time, we want to keep working before that time, or after that time.

We have the advantage that we do not have occasional workers that come and go. Most of us work year-round (including our 3 high schoolers that come after school each day), so we can keep track our team's overall health status.

Like cold and flu, an individual could become sick several days prior to showing symptoms. So, the standard approach is to assume a worker is contagious, and work to prevent transmission. Transmission is mainly by small droplets from coughing or sneezing, and by touching hard dry surfaces that have been contaminated. The virus does not last long on moist organic surfaces like vegetables or wash tables. Like other cold and flu viruses, it can stay viable for 24 hours on dry hard surfaces.

While we work, we will maintain separation (6 feet or more). When we cannot maintain separation, we will wear a dust mask. Each worker will have a personal mask, kept in their locker when they are not working. Frequent hand washing will be done while cleaning and packing to avoid contaminating hard dry surfaces. Workers can wear gloves which will help remind them not to touch their faces.

Member Protection

The virus does not remain viable on dry hard surfaces more than 24 hours, and much less so on organic, moist surfaces like vegetables or wash tables.

We currently clean and pack vegetables the day before packing. This is sufficient to prevent any transmission.

We will make sure any boxes picked up from members are held out at least 24 hours before being used again.

When we pack shares, workers will wear their dust mask, and they will wash hands prior to packing. The delivery driver will take proper care to prevent contamination.

Cabin Fever

If schools are cancelled, and work disrupted, and people need to avoid public places - "cabin fever" is going to set in. Fortunately, summer is coming so we can be outside. And open spaces, like parks and trails will be great places to go for an escape.

"Your Farm" will also be a good place for such an escape.

We will plan to set up a self-guided tour, where you and your family can wander around the farm. We will add some simple activities and picnic areas where you can spend time with your kids.

We will keep our distance. Not that we don't like to talk, it's just we don't want to transmit anything.

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Eat food -- Not too much -- Mostly plants