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Back to Basics: How to Return to Farming as Usual after the Pandemic

Various industries and schools, from elementary to tertiary education, have been forced to adapt due to the pandemic. All over the world, everyone agreed to the government-mandated shutdowns to stay ahead of the spread of the dreaded virus.

Many farm operations have managed to operate — at least, partially — due to the nature of their business. They and many other businesses rooted in food have been deemed as essential and cannot really be shutdown. Those using mushroom farming technology and other related processes can also be deemed essential and haven’t really been shut down although they were to operate in a diminished manner.

Now that vaccines are starting to be distributed, these farms and many others like them are set to return to full production. How do you do this without facing the difficulty of trying to get back to the normal resumption of duties? Here are some tips to get you started.

Critical Timing is Important

Partial production is nothing like full production. Farms that were permitted to operate at a reduced rate may find it hard to get back into the groove after operating in a reduced manner for so long. For these farms, they may also ask the question “when?” if they’re about to return to full operations.

The answer isn’t easy to figure out, but again, the best possible solution lies in the direction provided by the authorities. Federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may have the best answers to your question.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may provide some direction as well. Check with the regulations given by these agencies when you’re trying to figure out if you can resume normal operations or if you should wait a little while longer.

Weighing Risks against Production

When resuming full operations, there will always be risks involved. In particular, you’ll have to check whether all of your farmhands or employees are safe and without the virus. As in a barrel full of apples, one sick employee can bring down the whole operation that you’ve worked hard to bring back to working capacity.

Aside from the regular handwashing and face mask rule, you should also consider the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) so that the risk of getting the virus is further lessened. You can also install other engineering controls such as filtration systems to sift droplets from the air or physical barriers.

Get Back to your Customers

In the case of farms, your customers are the various people you’ve made deals with and have working relationships with. For instance, these could be markets that sell your product or big stores that you supply to.

It can be expected that most of them wouldn’t open yet, but there are those that might. Consider rebuilding your relationships with them. This is also the perfect time to seek out new relationships with clients you’ve never partnered with before. Under the new normal, everyone is seeking new, fruitful partnerships to build, and this is the guise you should take, too.

Be Mindful of your Employees

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This is also the best time to build a lasting relationship with your farmhands. Each company, no matter how big they are or how simple their work is, owes its success to the people working for them. During these downturns, they also deserve the best help that you can give them.

If there are those that cannot return to work for whatever reason, what you can do is to assist them during this difficult time. It may be through the distribution of goods or financial help, but whatever help you can give them goes a long way in building a long and trust-based relationship with these workers.

Announce your Re-opening

If you want to try something new, you could start a blog or a social media drive that details your day-to-day operation. This is to educate your potential customers about your operation, as well as announce that you’re back to business. This is also to help inform your existing clients about your resumption of operations.

There are various topics you can discuss, like normal day-to-day for your business. A good topic would be to show what innovations the pandemic has introduced. This shows how invested you are in bettering your operations.

Above everything else, it’s important that you remain committed to treating your top investment — human resource — as best as you can. This should help provide a framework in case there are future disruptions like this one, aside from showing that you truly care for your employees.

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