Biosecurity for People: 7 Steps to Protect Farm Workers from COVID-19

A COVID-19 outbreak on a farm could dramatically reduce that farm’s workforce, with catastrophic consequences for everyday operations. In New York State, local health departments have the authority to impose mandatory quarantine for any person who “has been in close contact (6 ft.) with someone who is positive but is not displaying symptoms for COVID-19.” If one worker on your farm tests positive for the new coronavirus, how many other workers would be placed in mandatory quarantine? How would your farm get by if you suddenly lost a significant percentage of your workforce? These questions need to be on every dairy manager’s mind as the industry begins to address this new biosecurity threat.

To manage the human risks associated with COVID-19, every farm operator should be thinking about two things right now: prevention and contingency planning. This article addresses prevention, otherwise known as “biosecurity for people.” Use these seven steps as a guide to develop your own biosecurity program aimed at keeping your farm workforce safe, healthy and productive:


This article draws from resources developed by Cornell Ag Workforce Development. To learn more, visit their website on Novel Coronavirus Prevention & Control for Farms and check out this recording of their recent COVID-19 and Your Dairy Webinar.