Elevators implement COVID-19 protocols to keep grain moving

Canada’s grain companies are still moving grain to market, but have implemented measures to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.

Richardson-Pioneer, Viterra, G3, Cargill and Parrish and Heimbecker are all taking farmers’ grain but are restricting contact between staff and farmers and moving it to market, while using social distancing.

“We remain open for business, however we are making the offices at our facilities inaccessible to the public until further notice,” a spokesman for Viterra said in an email March 20. “We are taking this action to protect our employees and our customers, and are acting in alignment with public health protocols. We will continue to provide our customers with the best possible service, and encourage them to reach out directly to us by phone or email to make arrangements for grain contracting and deliveries. Given all of the challenges we’ve experienced in our industry over the last year, it is especially important that we continue working hard to keep our business moving forward and fulfill our export commitments to end users around the world, while taking every precaution to ensure we’re doing it safely and in accordance with government and public health protocols.”

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Other grain companies have similar policies and remain committed to keeping grain flowing.

“We don’t anticipate any issues to be able to take a delivery from a farmer,” Russ Reich, assistant vice-president of Richardson Pioneer Limited said in an interview March 19. “Obviously we will put measures in place where there is safe distancing and people stay in their trucks and how we hand off receipts. We can definitely spread out and practice social-distancing. I don’t see any concerns there. In regards to shipping and keeping the whole pipeline going we don’t think that will be an issue.”

In the meantime company officials say they continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and follow federal and local health recommendations.

Read more about the impact COVID-19 is having on Canada’s grain industry in the March 26 issue of the Manitoba Co-operator.

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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