Prairie elevators’ staff aim for on-site distancing

Cargill, P+H elevators stay open but with arm's-length approach

At least two Prairie grain handling firms plan to continue taking deliveries from farmers during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — but to make the process as touchless as possible.

Cargill, in a email to customers Wednesday, said its Canadian grain elevators, crush plants and ag input retail sites will remain open for deliveries and pickups, but under new “precautionary procedures.”

While all Cargill locations are still open, their offices “are closed to walk-in traffic” effective immediately, the company said.

Farmers visiting the sites are asked to “call ahead so we can have your documents prepared,” the company said. “Our teams will use electronic documentation where possible, but if that does not work for you, we will use traditional methods with additional safety protocols to protect your health and that of our employees.”

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“Small teams” will staff the company’s facilities, Cargill said, with “signage and barriers in place to ensure everyone’s safety.” If the door at a Cargill facility is locked, the company said, “it’s because we have identified higher risks at this location” and farmers should instead call the number on a posted sign for immediate service.

Cheques will be printed and mailed, or farmers can arrange for electronic payments, the company said.

Remain in vehicle

Grain handler Parrish and Heimbecker, for another, said Tuesday it plans to have its locations “cleaned more thoroughly on a daily basis” and has asked staff to take “proper measures” for the safety of employees and customers.

Staff who feel ill will be asked to stay home, and those who have travelled outside the country have been asked to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.

Meanwhile, farmers and others who plan to visit P+H facilities are asked to consult the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website on processes for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Farmers and other visitors to the company’s sites are asked to “avoid meeting face-to-face with us” as staff “will be available via phone and text.”

Farmers delivering grain or picking up crop inputs or seed at P+H sites are also asked to “call ahead to ensure we are able to assist you,” as the company “will be limiting the amount of customers at our location at this time.”

P+H customers doing business at a company site are also asked to “remain in your vehicle wherever possible” and anyone who feels ill or has recently been out of the country is asked to “please reschedule your visit.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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