Bulletin #1067, Guidelines for Maine Dairy Farmers Requiring Temporary Relief Workers Where a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Positive Case Has Been Suspected or Identified

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Information for COVID-19

Richard Kersbergen, Extension Professor, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Adapted with permission from Ireland’s Farm Relief Service and Francis Quigley, Farm Machinery and Milking Machine Specialist, Teagasc, Agriculture, and Food Development Authority, Ireland

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extension.umaine.edu/publications/.

dairy cow and calf in pastureSTEP 1: Get Prepared

  • It is imperative that you are prepared for the worst eventuality, which is that you may be unable to carry out your normal duties for some time, so prepare immediately.
  • Have a full set of instructions available for the individual(s) to work on your farm.
  • Instructions do not have to be lengthy, just enough information on where to find things and how to carry out jobs as you normally would. Machinery and equipment can vary from farm to farm. Photos and short videos are very useful in quickly explaining how to use machinery and equipment. These can be sent easily as short video clips via YouTube video link or messaging apps such as WhatsApp.

What should I photograph or take videos of?

  • Farm map with buildings, roads, and other particulars identified
  • Milking machine controls and processes (from set-up to take down)
  • Milking machine washing procedure
  • Milk tank controls and wash procedure
  • Controls for Ffeder/mixer wagons/grain tanks
  • Tractor and skid steer controls
  • Automatic scraper controls or barn cleaner
  • Location of key tools, equipment, medicines, and keys for access
  • Electricity and water shut-off points
  • Any other machines you regularly use or processes that are unique to your farm

STEP 2: Contact UMaine Extension as soon as possible

  • Send all relevant information such as your address, the number of cows to be milked, milking system, etc., to the UMaine Extension Waldo County office in advance if possible. Send information by non-contact means, by phone or email: 207.342.5917 or extension.waldo@maine.edu.
  • Let the UMaine Extension office know if you or family members have contracted COVID-19 or are in isolation. Your situation will be treated in the strictest confidence possible, however, the farmworker will be told of the situation.
  • Minimize the risk of infection by having no physical contact with farmworkers: no handshaking, wear a mask and gloves, etc. Ideally, you should not meet them at all. If you must, keep a minimum of 6 feet of social distance.
  • All communication should be non-contact if possible: phone, text, messaging apps (WhatsApp, etc.), email, notes, notice boards. Photos or short video clips of your processes are useful.
  • If non-symptomatic family members are available for guidance, make sure they are also wearing a mask and gloves and distance themselves from anyone coming to help.

STEP 3: Provide Relevant Farm Information

Ensure you provide all the necessary information for the operator to complete their job. This checklist may help you, and it may include:

  • Physical address of home and of farm
  • Number of cows to be milked
  • Treated cows clearly marked for milk disposal
  • Parlor make/type or milking setup
  • Copy of farm/barn map with groups labeled/numbered
  • Other livestock to be checked and fed (type, quantity, and location of feed)
  • List of tasks to be completed with instructions (photos/videos are useful)
  • Family members’ contact details
  • Vet and medicine contact details
  • Milking machine repair contact details
  • Milk truck driver contact details
  • Milk co-op quality control manager or milk processor
  • AI technician(s) contact details
  • Feed supplier and nutritionist contact details
  • Location of bulls/dangerous animals
  • Spare set of labeled keys
  • List of calving dates/serving dates for cows
  • Means of recording animal remedies (paper or electronic)
  • Daily maintenance required for machinery operation


UMaine Extension


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2020

Call 800.287.0274 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).