COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Safe Harvest 2020: COVID-19 Office Hours for Producers and Packers

Tuesdays @12:30 PM EDT

Cornell CALS and CCE will host office hours for farmers  and packers to answer any questions they might have about managing and responding to protect the farm workforce during COVID-19. Participants will be able to log in from a computer or call in from a phone to ask questions or just to listen. A panel of experts will be available to answer questions immediately, questions that the experts cannot answer right away will be recorded, studied and answered later. The next 6 weeks are a critical time for the farm workforce as seasonal harvest ramps up, so the office hours will repeat every Tuesday at 12:30 PM EST through the end of September. Register online to receive a link to all office hours dates and watch the Ag Workforce website for more information. Registration is free but required.


NY Forward Business Safety Plan

New York Forward is the state’s plan to begin re-opening in phases as regions of the state achieve certain COVID-19 management metrics. An important part of New York Forward is for all businesses to have a customized, written safety plan that details specifically how each business will prevent and manage COVID-19.

A statewide task force of Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals, who collectively are familiar with the many different types of enterprises and complexity of agricultural businesses in New York, have developed tools to assist farmers with meeting this state mandate to protect the people associated with your business.


New COVID-19 Video in Spanish (English subtitles)

Show your employees!

Farms with Spanish-speaking employees need to share this awesome new COVID-19 video with your employees. The video has clear and easy to understand directions for stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Click the “CC” icon at the bottom of the YouTube video to turn on the English text.

It was produced by: Libby Eiholzer of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Lisa Ford of Cayuga Marketing, and Anna Meyerhoff, of NY Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH).

Pair this resource with the written documents we produced earlier this week. A new resource to help Spanish- and English-speaking farm employees access credible, multi-lingual information about COVID-19 that they can use right away. The document appears in English and Spanish and the content is the same, we will keep both documents up to date during the present COVID-19 crisis.

Farms care about keeping employees, communities, and consumers safe! Keep up the good work and we’ll get through this together!


Stress Management and Mental Health Awareness Webinar

Presented by:  NY FarmNet’s Kate Downes & Brenda O’Brien

Hosted by: Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance

There is no precedent with the novel coronavirus. Whatever our age, a life-altering event can leave us hoping there is some magical cure that will help us feel less anxious or overwhelmed. While no such magic exists, there are ways we can focus on the good.

Stress is inevitable – it’s how you respond to and manage the cause, or stressor, that can make a difference in your daily life. Whether the stressor is a medical diagnosis, low milk and commodity prices, weather that impedes crop production, or tensions within the family, there are tools we can use to help manage our emotions during challenging times.

Join Kate and Brenda of NY FarmNet as they discuss managing stress and the impact it can have on mental health, building resiliency, suicide prevention, and the importance of breaking down the stigma related to these topics.


Disruption to Key Personnel on the Farm: Developing Contingency Plans webinar

April 15, 2020 | 1 – 2 PM EDT

This webinar is free but registration is required.

Written Summary of Presentation: Disruption to Key Personnel on the Farm

Presented by: Jason Karszes, Dairy Farm Business Management Specialist, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY, and Richard Stup, PhD, Agricultural Workforce Specialist, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development

Moderated by: Rob Lynch, DVM, Dairy Herd Health and Management Specialist, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

On many farms, multiple people might be able to do, or train others on, many day-to-day tasks, but fewer can take care of management tasks that occur daily, weekly, or monthly. This webinar focuses on developing plans to backup people who perform key management tasks, from middle to senior management roles, if they are unable to work.


COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm webinar

Steps that produce farm managers and individuals working with fruit and vegetable farms should consider to protect their workforce, their business, and their markets

April 3, 2020 | 10-11:30 AM EDT

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Your Produce Farm webinar recording

Link to COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm pdf of webinar presentation

Richard Stup, PhD, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, Elizabeth Bihn, PhD, Director of Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell, and Anu Rangarajan, PhD, Director of the Cornell Small Farms Program

Topics include: why prevention of the coronavirus/COVID-19 is important, steps that employers should take to protect employees, how to manage cleaning and disinfection in the workplace and employee housing, state and federal sick leave and workforce reduction policies, and disaster contingency planning to manage and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on-farm.


COVID-19 and Your Dairy webinar

Steps that dairy managers should consider to protect their workforce, their business and their markets

March 20, 2020 | 10-11 am EDT
Link COVID-19 and Your Dairy webinar recording

Link to COVID-19 and Your Dairy pdf of webinar presentation

Richard Stup, PhD, Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development, and Rob Lynch, DVM, Cornell CALS PRO-DAIRY

Topics include: why prevention of the coronavirus/COVID-19 is important, steps that employers should take to protect employees, animal health considerations, what to do if service providers are not available, disaster contingency plans, cross-training of employees who can fill other roles, business resources for employers, and pending federal and state legislation related to coronavirus and employees.


Managing coronavirus on your dairy farm

Dr. Richard Stup discusses dairy farmers managing coronavirus

In episode 15 of DairyVoice podcast, Joel Hastings, Editor & Publisher of DairyBusiness News talks about important items for dairy farm managers to consider in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Richard Stup, PhD, who heads the Agricultural Workforce Development program at Cornell University, is widely known for his personnel management expertise. In this episode, he tells us about a variety of issues to consider and plan for in keeping farm families and farm employees safe, and keeping the farm business running. What should the first steps be for a dairy manager? What about managing isolation, tracking, and communication with health authorities? Dr. Stup says to begin to plan right now. You can listen to this episode of DairyVoice at, at, or through any of the major podcast providers.


Need Information?

View the following Cornell CALS and CCE resources. (Pages are updated regularly.)


News Releases


Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development Blog Posts

Novel Coronavirus Prevention & Control for Farms

The U.S. is confronting an outbreak of a novel coronavirus that causes serious respiratory disease and may be deadly for older people and those with weakened immune systems. The World Health Organization is now calling the outbreak a global pandemic because it is affecting countries all over the world. People and organizations can still fight coronavirus by taking steps to prevent transmission of the disease. The whole point of widespread cancellation of events is to create “social distancing” to lower the infection rate and prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed. New York State Department of Health has a coronavirus website with English and Spanish posters for preventing coronavirus infection (

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) provides clear guidance about preventing infection in both English and Spanish. They also provide a number of printable factsheets and posters in English and Spanish suitable for use in the workplace. (Download at:


Employer Action Steps

Your farm workforce is not immune to coronavirus. Please begin taking steps to protect yourself and your employees.

  1. Talk with your employees about the coronavirus, how it spreads, and how to prevent getting infected.
  2. Print the CDC factsheets and posters, post in your workplace and employee housing facilities.
  3. Provide guidance to help employees clean and disinfect employer-provided housing. Follow up with employees and manage the process to be sure that this happens. Set up a regular weekly and daily schedule for cleaning.
  4. Clean and disinfect your workplace. The employee breakroom and bathroom are great places for virus to be transmitted. Clean and disinfect any areas where employees congregate or routinely touch items such as doorknobs and computer keyboards. Set up daily and weekly cleaning schedules.
  5. Provide cleaning supplies such as cleaning solutions, buckets, mops, brushes, etc. for cleaning at work and for those living in employer-provided housing. (CDC list of approved antimicrobial cleaning products:
  6. Review your sick leave policy. The first advice for people who are sick is to stay home except to get medical care. Do you provide paid sick leave for your employees? If you do not, will employees feel financially obligated to come to work even if they are sick?
  7. Communicate with employees that they should stay home if they are sick. Employees sometimes come to work believing they will face punishment or firing if they miss work. Be sure your employees understand that their health and that of their co-workers’ comes first. Communicate and make a plan to cover for sick employees. CDC provides posters in English and Spanish covering symptoms of novel coronavirus.
  8. Prepare your disaster contingency plan. What will you do if 50 percent of your employees become sick and unable to work? Are there neighboring farms who might be able to share resources in an emergency? Who will manage for a few weeks if you or another key manager are unable to leave your house or are hospitalized?

At minimum, share the guidelines below from New York state with your employees and family.


New York State Department of Health Prevention Tips

While there is currently no vaccine to prevent this virus, these simple steps can help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Additional Resources

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