24 March 2020

Essential information for ALL farmers around COVID-19

You must register as an essential business

MPI have made it clear that all food and beverage producers and processors, and their supply chains, are deemed to be essential services. However, just because you are a farmer, doesn’t mean that you automatically become an essential service or business. Our current understanding is that ALL farm businesses must register, individually, as essential businesses. The details of how to do this (it will be an on-line process) are still being worked out, and should be notified within the next couple of days.

Protecting workers and the public

The government is very clear that the key aim for all New Zealanders right now must be to stop the spread of the virus in order to save, potentially, many thousands of lives. Protecting the health of your workers and the public is essential. Therefore, if you register as an essential business, you will have to adapt the way your business and staff operate.

You must be able to show:

1.  How are you ensuring that workers and others at work are observing social distancing to and from work, during work and during rest breaks?

2.  What personal hygiene steps have you put in place for workers to reduce the likelihood of virus spread at work?

3.  What existing, or additional personal protective equipment could you introduce that

would reduce the likelihood of virus spread at work?

4.  What steps are you taking to limit access to your plants apart from essential workers?

5.  How are you isolating staff, or parts of your processing plants, so that virus spread would be contained should it occur?

6.  What arrangements have you put in place for staff to report any illness and remove themselves from work?

7.  What arrangement have you put in place for staff to report any suspected exposure to COVID-19?

8.  What actions would you take should a staff member be suspected of or confirmed as having COVID-19?

9.  How do you ensure that staff at particular risk of COVID-19 identify themselves and are isolated from work?

10. How will you ensure that your workers observe ‘stay at home’ rules at the conclusion

of each working day?

These questions will be part of the MPI registration process - if you cannot address them satisfactorily, you will not be able to remain open for business.

Non-essential staff members must stay at home.

FAR will be working with other sector groups to look at supporting your businesses to address these questions. Please contact [email protected]  if you have any specific queries and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

FAR will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 coronavirus situation and its potential impact on the arable industry. Updated information will be posted on our  website and included in our FAR Weekly e-newsletter (subscribe here).

Alison Stewart


Foundation for Arable Research






Entities providing essential services (including their supply chains)


Accommodation services for essential workers and people who need to be isolated/quarantined


Customs New Zealand, Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries

Building and construction

Building and construction related to essential services, critical infrastructure, or immediately needed to maintain human health and safety at home/work

Courts, tribunals and the justice system

Courts of New Zealand and tribunals

Critical Crown entities (e.g. Electoral Commission)


At level 3 only:

Schools and educational facilities (e.g. ECE centres)

Fast-moving consumer goods

Businesses involved in the supply, delivery, distribution and sale of food, beverage and other key consumer goods (but not takeaway shops)

Financial services

Banks, insurers and other financial institutions


Hospitals, primary care clinics, pharmacies, medical laboratories, care facilities

Ambulance services

Mortuary services

Local and national government

Any entity involved in COVID-19 response or that has civil defence/emergency management functions

Key public services

Primary industries,

including food and beverage production and processing

Packaging, production and processing of food and beverage products

Food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services, food safety and biosecurity functions

Veterinary and animal health/welfare services

Public safety and national security

Emergency services

Security and intelligence services

Justice system

Public safety and national security roles


Any entity (including research organisations) involved in COVID-19 response, hazard monitoring, resilience, diagnostics for essential services

Social services

Welfare and social services, including NGOs, which meet immediate needs (further guidance will be provided)

Transport and logistics

Transport services

New Zealand Post and courier services

Any small passenger service vehicle driver – including taxis and ride-share services

Utilities and communications, including supply chains


Electricity, gas, water, waste, fuel, telecommunication services, internet providers and media


Contact Details

PO BOX 900, SH2 Masterton
Phone: (06) 370 6880
Email: [email protected]

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Higgins Complex

State Highway 2


(06)  370 6880

Feilding Office

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8 Manchester Square

(06)  323 2220