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Jun 12, 2020
Cornell offers NY Forward Business Safety Plan Support for farms

New York state requires businesses to have a specific business safety plan in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes all farms, both food and non-food producing. In addition, a well-written and executed business safety plan will help reduce business liability risk during and after the pandemic.

A Cornell Task Force recently developed materials to directly support farms in the plan-writing process.

Cornell Cooperative Extension and Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development are offering a “NY Forward Business Safety Plan Support” webinar series with specialized webinars for Dairy/Livestock/Crop Farms, Fruit/Vegetable Farms, Retail Farms, Equine Farms and Greenhouse/Landscaping/Ornamental Farms.

The webinars, led by Extension specialists, will walk farmers through the need for and process to complete a safety plan as is required by all businesses for compliance with NY Forward, demonstrate project tools developed by Extension to write and complete a plan, share curated resources for specific industries


Registration is FREE and REQUIRED. The webinars will be recorded and the links will be posted.

Considerations and Examples for Required Safety Plans for Agricultural Businesses

Every farm business is unique. NY Forward requires each agricultural business to have a written safety plan in place appropriate to their business. This safety plan details how your business will provide employees and customers protection as New York re-opens for business by region across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both essential agricultural businesses that have remained open and those non-food related agricultural businesses who will re-open must have a safety plan.

The safety plan is about mitigating risk of people associated with your business contracting the COVID-19 virus. Risk of virus transmission increases as the number of people involved or in close proximity to one another grows. Each business is unique in its environment and number of people involved, as family, employees, business associates or customers who visit the premises grows. The complexity of your safety plan is likely to reflect the number and frequency of interactions among people at your farm.

Resources on this page will help you develop a plan to ensure the safety of people involved in your business. Resources organized by type of agricultural enterprise will help you customize a plan that meets the needs of your specific business. Each building block provides examples and considerations to allow you to either use New York State’s template or develop your own plan using pieces you may already have in place in your HACCP, FARM Plan or from Best Management Practices for different parts of your entity.

As you begin to put your plan together it is important to keep in mind the purpose of the plan: to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among people. The plan must have three elements:

  1. People: that’s your family, employees, customers, delivery people and consultants who interact at your business and the way your business will help to maintain social distance among those people.
  2. Place: addresses the environment in which you do business, share tools and equipment, receive supplies, and make sales of your product. This section deals with protective equipment, cleaning and hygiene, and communication of how your business plans reduce the chances of spreading the virus among people.
  3. Process: focuses on mandatory health screening, contact tracing and disinfection. How will you screen employees to reduce the chances of sick people entering the work place? Your plan for contact tracing explains how your business will gather required information about everyone who visits your business. This list would be used by local health authorities to trace all contacts if someone at your business were to be confirmed positive for COVID-19. Your process also defines how you will disinfect contaminated areas should someone who has been in direct contact with your business test positive for the virus.

Throughout these “Considerations and Examples” you will find information about what the safety plan is required to cover. There are links to guidance documents from New York State, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Cornell and other experts. Ideas for language you might use to describe how your plan will address requirements outlined by New York are included too. Color-coding all through the documents will help you identify requirements of the safety plan, guidance documents, and example language.

You can choose the format that best suits your needs to develop your safety plan. Templates are provided in Microsoft Word, a fillable PDF form, or you can simply print the template and hand-write text into the boxes provided to address the specific situation for your business. A task force of Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals from across the state, who collectively are familiar with the many different types of enterprises and complexity of agricultural businesses in New York, developed these tools to help make it easier for you to meet the state mandate for a safety plan to protect the people associated with your business.

Blank Templates

These are blank templates that you can download and use to write your farm business’s safety plan.

  • Link to NY State Business Safety Plan Template, Adobe PDF format, suitable to print and handwrite your plan
  • Business Safety Plan Template with fillable boxes, Adobe PDF (Reduce font size if necessary to view text in boxes when printing.)
  • Business Safety Plan Template, Microsoft Word

Considerations and Examples For Your Plan

A team of Cornell Cooperative Extension professionals developed documents with important information and concepts for you to consider as you write your plan and examples of what might appear in a farm safety plan. Use these documents to help you think through each part of your farm safety plan.


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