Enhanced On-Farm Inspection procedures help keep producers safe during COVID-19
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) is taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our clients, employees and the communities we live in and serve during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
In the months ahead, we recognize the heightened need to enhance our safety protocols to keep both our Inspectors and clients safe during upcoming inspections. Prioritizing the well-being of our clients and our inspectors is crucial, and we have made several changes to our On-Farm Inspection procedures to continue to serve clients while minimizing risk and reducing the potential spread of the virus.
The revised procedures include:
- Steps to help ensure appropriate physical (or social) distancing,
- Recommendations on enhanced sanitation, and
- Alberta Health Service’s directions on when staff should self-isolate.
Each day, our On-Farm Inspectors are taking steps to help limit the amount of close contact they have with their clients, co-workers and the public. Whenever possible, they will speak with clients and gather key information by phone or email. Clients can submit any necessary documents by email or fax, and as needed, an inspector can take a photo of receipts during a farm visit, while ensuring minimal contact.
During this time, AFSC inspectors are encouraged to meet clients at the inspection sites. Once at the site, it is important that both the inspector and client maintain physical distancing protocols. Once the inspection is completed, inspectors will email a copy of the inspection report to the client to review and sign off. Clients can send an email indicating their acceptance of the inspection report, in place of a signature.
Good hand hygiene is one of the key tools in the fight against COVID-19, and we’ve provided our inspectors with safety kits, including gloves and hand sanitizer, for use in the field. In addition, all AFSC employees understand appropriate hygiene practices and have been instructed to clean and sanitize their work areas regularly—be it a desk, truck or electronic devices.
Our clients and staff are our main concern
We recognize that everyone is facing similar challenges and concerns as this pandemic unfolds. Some of our clients may be uncomfortable with a visit from an AFSC Inspector during this time or may be self-isolating due to illness, recent travel or other concerns.
Please note: AFSC will only conduct onsite visits when clients are comfortable with our members of our team completing the inspection. This may include situations where clients are present at a safe distance from AFSC staff or when a client allows AFSC to inspect while the client is not present. Some low-risk claims may be approved without a physical inspection by AFSC.
Through challenges like these, AFSC remains committed to working with our clients to understand their needs and build a strong, diversified agriculture sector in Alberta.