Livestock Marketing Association on COVID-19 Precautions
March 18, 2020
Overland Park, Kan.
Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) is actively working to keep livestock auction markets functioning while following the rapidly changing field of guidance and mandates for businesses in light of COVID-19. Livestock auction markets are essential to maintaining infrastructure and food supply as well as access to capital for the thousands of farmers and ranchers who depend on livestock auction markets to sell their livestock.
LMA continues to work with federal, state, and local officials to ensure continuity of business while taking into account the significant public health consequences of the COVID-19 disease situation.
LMA is discussing public assistance options for livestock auctions and producers in the weeks and months to come. The latest USDA public information notices are available here:
USDA AMS – https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAMS/bulletins/28106a4
USDA APHIS – https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAPHIS/bulletins/28183de
FSIS / USDA MRP – https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDAAMS/2020/03/16/file_attachments/1402540/3.16.20%20OFS%20and%20MRP%20Statement%20to%20Industry.pdf
With respect to public attendance at livestock auction markets, LMA is aware that many states and areas are enforcing varied crowd size limits and have mandated restrictions on operation of cafés or other food services. LMA is working with markets on a case-by-case basis to evaluate all parameters and impacts on their sales and strongly suggests markets develop contingency plans accordingly.
LMA has provided the following strategies to markets in order to prepare for and mitigate disease spread:
- Familiarize yourself with and follow rapidly changing local and state rules regarding assembly of crowds. If you need assistance interpreting relevant recommendations and mandates, reach out to LMA;
- Work with your café operators to follow location-specific guidance which may include closure or offering to-go service only;
- Update your website with instructions to customers and your plans for continued operation;
- Utilize your social media platforms to share fact-based information and your plans for continued operations. If you need help drafting your social media or website statements, please reach out to LMA;
- If you are in a situation where you need to limit crowd size, request that consignors deliver livestock and return home rather than remaining at the facility;
- Offer consignors flexibility in picking up their checks if they can’t wait for the mail such as delivery or pick up from their vehicle while remaining in parking lot;
- Instruct any employee or visitor exhibiting symptoms of illness to remain home and request that any employee or visitor who is a member of a population of heightened vulnerability to consider avoiding areas where people are gathering;
- Evaluate all options to utilize web broadcast or phone bidding;
- Provide ample opportunities for visitors and employees to wash hands following CDC best practices;
- Clean and disinfect any commonly used areas more often; and
- Clean restrooms more frequently and restock with supplies including soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
LMA and our member auctions take this situation very seriously. Human health is of great concern. Because LMA values the wellbeing of our members, their employees, consignors, and buyers, we will remain in contact with and continue providing updates to our membership to help them navigate these trying times.
About the Livestock Marketing Association
The Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., is North America’s leading, national trade association dedicated to serving its members in the open and competitive auction method of marketing livestock. Founded in 1947, LMA has more than 800 member businesses across the U.S. and Canada and remains invested in both the livestock and livestock marketing industries through member support, education programs, policy representation and communication efforts.
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