Western AG COVID-19 Strategy: A Message to Clients and the Community

With rising cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the landscape has changed considerably with Federal and State Governments now implementing multiple stages of regulations and restrictions. There have been radical changes to businesses, services and activities that facilitate social gatherings and a multiple of the changes covering a huge range of what the Government have now deemed “non-essential” services. We recommend you follow https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus to keep fully up to date.
 

Currently, the Agriculture Service chain is considered an “essential service” and is permitted to continue operations. For obvious reasons, it will only remain so for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic if we adapt and change the way we conduct business. 
 

At Western AG, we always prioritise the safety of our staff, clients and valued contacts and have adopted a range of measures to minimise potential exposure to COVID-19. At this time, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your understanding as we in put place these proactive changes to ensure that we can provide an uninterrupted advisory and input supply service.
 

The basic Western AG message to clients has not changed, none of the current changes affect our ability to trade and our client servicing capability. 
 

The way we trade has been modified to adapt and specific situations now exist.
 

Facilities:

  • All of our Branches remain open and we are fully operational.

  • Our offices within a Branch are closed to public access. Only essential staff can enter.

  • Clients can still access our warehouses, but we are asking clients to not enter our offices at any stage and, where possible, place orders and conduct business via email, SMS or phone. Our staff can ring through orders on a client’s behalf if preferable.

  • If clients are collecting inputs from a Western AG location, we are asking individuals to remain in their vehicle except as required to restrain loads.

  • Goods can still be delivered on-farm from our facilities by Western AG operational staff.

  • Professional drivers are not allowed to enter a Western AG office or warehouse. This includes contract freight company drivers and logistics staff from other Western AG Branches.

  • Inward / outward goods drivers, including clients, are to only exit their vehicles to remove or position load constraints and are to remain in their vehicles during unloading / loading. 

  • We have asked our staff to observe an increased social distancing of 3m and to practice personal hygiene as per government guidelines to reduce virus transfer risk.

 

Meetings, Visitations and Paddock Inspections:

  • We have all our agronomists based from their home and not from within the Branches. This protects our clients, enabling contact to still be made in the field as required, with the added benefits of restricting unnecessary employee movement throughout our facilities.

  • Where possible, our preference is to inspect paddocks independently and report back to the client via email, SMS or phone. Clients can still follow by alternative means if desired.

  • Staff are not to meet in client’s homes or travel in the same vehicle. 

  • Staff are to travel individually and, if practical and necessary, not share vehicles.

  • Unnecessary visitation to stores by clients or non-essential personnel is discouraged.

 

Additional Workplace Conditions for Western AG staff:

  • Travel:

    • Freight & logistics of product, necessary for production purposes, is allowed.

    • Agronomists and Animal Health (AH&G) Specialists are determined as “essential travellers” when crossing the SA / Vic border as they are undertaking skills critical to maintaining key industries or businesses.

    • Domestic travel for business purposes is suspended until further notice.

    • International travel is banned until further notice.

    • Staff do not travel with clients in a vehicle at the same time.

  • Meetings:

    • All face to face meetings with Suppliers has been suspended until further notice and will only be held by phone or video link.

    • Staff will avoid large gatherings / groups / field days.

  • Staff Movements:

    • The Agronomy team are working remotely from home and only entering Branch facilities as absolutely required.

    • The AH&G Specialists are maintaining an in-store presence with restricted client contact.

    • Key Management staff are working from home, or in isolated areas within a facility.

    • Any persons entering a Western AG warehouse are to be requested to confirm that they are medically well and are not in social isolation.

    • Administration personnel are to only use their own workstation, computer and phone.

 

Basic Hygiene Guidelines

  • Staff will conduct basic hygiene practices to minimise the risk of exposure to Coronavirus. 

    • If you are ill, remain at home. 

    • If you think you need medical attention, phone your GP or the hotline first and they’ll tell you what to do.

    • Practise good hand hygiene – wash your hands regularly. 

    • Employ appropriate cough etiquette by coughing into your elbow.

    • Other measures should include not touching your face, and instead of your fingers, using your knuckle, a pen or an ID card to activate lift buttons.

    • Wearing a mask is not the best preventive measure. 

  • Continue to exercise, eating healthy food, drinking water and getting adequate sleep.

  • If close proximity / contact is unavoidable with staff or clients:

    • Confirm you are medically well.

    • Maintain at least 3m distance.

    • No hand shaking.

 

If anyone has any further concerns, they can speak directly to the COVID-19 hotline which is available  24 hours, 7 days
on 1800 675 398. Please do not call 000 as this is for emergencies only.

 

The Western AG Executive Team are meeting regularly and will communicate any further measures as needed to ensure the safety of our staff and the communities in which we live and work. These measures certainly feel foreign to us, due to the strong personal relationships we hold with our clients, and we are looking forward to the situation returning to normal. In the meantime, just stay safe.

The Western AG Team

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