Minnesota Dairy Initiative

Dairy Development & Profitability
Enhancement Program

Established to Energize a Healthy and Vibrant Dairy Industry in Minnesota

COVID-19 Updates

Minnesota Dairy Initiative COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

In accordance with Executive Orders issued by Governor Tim Walz under the Peacetime Emergency, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative’s (MDI) COVID-19 Preparedness Plan establishes and explains the policies, practices and conditions MDI will implement to meet the industry guidance that are based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and applicable executive orders related to safety and health in their workplaces.

Minnesota Dairy Initiative is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all coordinators and clients. To ensure we have a safe and healthy environment, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative has developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan applies to MDI coordinators, contractors, and volunteers including MDI region boards, farm teams, networking groups, and MDI State Board of Directors. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 in our environment and communities, and that requires full cooperation among our coordinators, volunteers, and teams. Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of all persons.

This plan was prepared with input from the MDI State Board of Directors, MDI Executive Committee, and State Director. This plan has been communicated with all coordinators and regional boards. Additional communication and training will be conducted as needed to ensure the safety and health of coordinators, teams, volunteers, and board members across the state of Minnesota.

The COVID-19 Preparedness Plan is administered by the MDI State Board of Directors who maintains the overall authority and responsibility for the plan. However, coordinators, regional boards, team volunteers, and non-MDI team members are equally responsible for supporting, implementing, complying with, and providing recommendations to further improve all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Minnesota Dairy Initiative’s State Board of Directors have our full support in enforcing the provisions of this plan.

Minnesota Dairy Initiative’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows the industry guidance developed by the state of Minnesota, which is based upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines for COVID-19, Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) statutes, rules and standards, and Minnesota’s relevant and current executive orders.

  1. Allowable Activities
    1. MDI coordinators, contractors, volunteers, board members, networking groups, and regions may sponsor and/or organize an activity such as farm meetings, educational events, professional development trainings, board meetings, or gatherings as long as no more than 25 people can convene in an outdoor environment. Outdoors includes areas that are outside and not enclosed. Individuals will be situated six feet apart.
    2. MDI coordinators, contractors, volunteers, board members, networking groups, and regions may sponsor and/or organize an activity such as farm meetings, educational events, professional development trainings, board meetings, or gatherings as long as no more than 10 people can convene in an indoor environment. Indoor environments include meeting spaces, restaurants, barns, machinery sheds, house/home, or other outbuildings. Individuals will be situated six feet apart.
    3. Face masks can be worn but are not required for a farmer, coordinator, team member, volunteer, or board member to wear to an in-person meeting.
    4. Individuals will be discouraged from sharing food. Pre-packaged food and beverages will be used in place of homemade options if an event or meeting requires food.
  2. Ensuring sick persons stay home
    1. Persons should self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If they develop symptoms, they should notify the MDI coordinator and stay home.
    2. If a farmer, coordinator, team member, volunteer, or board member is feeling ill, individuals will not attend meetings and stay home.
    3. If a farmer, coordinator, team member, volunteer, or board member is residing with someone that is ill, individuals will not attend meetings and stay home.
    4. Coordinators must ask if the farmer, team members, volunteers, and board members have been sick or have been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date. If individuals have been experiencing symptoms, they will stay home and not attend the meeting.
      1. Meetings can be held without the sick person or rescheduled once their symptoms have improved (this can take up to 14 days) AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND at least three days have passed since fever has gone (without use of fever reducing medications).
      2. It is encouraged that meetings be held electronically/online if possible. Coordinators are to ask farmers, team members, volunteers, and board members if they are comfortable meeting in-person. If individuals are not comfortable or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, an electronic conferencing service should be used.
        1. MDI employees and contractors who are considered vulnerable or at high risk of COVID-19 contraction or who live with high risk individuals are highly encouraged to hold and attend events and meetings electronically.
      3. The MN Department of Health informs individuals if they have tested positive for COVID-19 that they will follow up with others who may have been exposed to the person with COVID-19.
  3. Social Distancing
    1. MDI coordinators, team members, volunteers, contractors, and board members will practice social distancing by keeping space between themselves and others by six feet.
      1. Six-foot spacing between individuals will be practiced at team meetings, board meetings, and events.
    2. MDI coordinator office spaces are in their homes or at local U of MN Extension offices. The offices located at U of MN Extension offices will abide by the guidelines in place set by U of MN Extension and in accordance to MDH, MNOSHA, and CDC.
  4. Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
    1. Frequently clean and disinfect all high-touch items, such as doorknobs, countertops, barriers, railings, handles, and other surfaces.
    2. Frequently clean and disinfect all areas, such as offices, restrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment, machinery, tools, controls, etc.
  5. Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
    1. Coordinators should use hand sanitizer before and after meetings. In addition, coordinators can bring hand sanitizer and have it available for others to use at the team meetings.
    2. Individuals should practice coughing/sneezing into their arm or a tissue and wash hands afterwards.
    3. Frequently wash hands. Individuals will wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    4. Individuals should avoid touching their eyes, nose, mouth.
  6. Communication and Training
    1. At events such as workshops or peer groups hosted by MDI, notices of social distancing, handwashing, and respiratory etiquette will be posted.
    2. Coordinators will communicate guidelines with volunteers, farmers, board members to ensure observance. Documentation for meetings can be logged with provided checklist.
    3. The State Director will be responsible with providing training and communication to MDI coordinators regarding the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and updates to guidelines to ensure safety and health for individuals.

This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has been reviewed by the MDI State Board of Directors on June 26, 2020. It will be updated as necessary.

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MDI Update: COVID-19 and Action Plan for Team Meetings


St. Cloud, MN — On Monday, May 18th, 2020 Governor Tim Walz issued the Stay Safe MN Phase l guidelines that outline that social gatherings of 10 people or less can take place. To continue to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative would like MDI coordinators, farmer applicants, and team members to use discretion when planning and attending on-farm team meetings.

The Minnesota Dairy Initiative requires teams to follow the guidelines of 10 or less people in attendance and to observe best health practices which include the following:

  • While planning a meeting, the coordinator must ask if the farmer or team members have been sick or have been experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 within the 2 weeks prior to the scheduled meeting date. Documentation can be logged with provided checklist;
  • If a farmer, coordinator, or team member is feeling ill, do not attend meetings and stay home;
  • If a farmer, coordinator, or team member is residing with someone that is ill, do not attend meetings and stay home;
  • Cough/sneeze into your arm or tissue and wash your hands afterwards;
  • Practice social distancing. Allow space between yourself and other people by six feet;
  • Clean your hands often – wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol;
  • Coordinators should use hand sanitizer before and after meetings. In addition, coordinators can bring hand sanitizer and have it available for others to use at the team meetings;
  • Do not share food;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces;
  • Have meetings electronically/online if possible. Coordinators are to ask farmers and team members if they are comfortable meeting in person. If individuals are not comfortable, an electronic conferencing service should be used.

Please use discretion from MDI coordinators, farmer applicants, and team members as each region continues to move forward. Health and safety of all participants is the most important factor.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Leah Bischof, MDI State Director, at (320) 429-0611 or leahbischof@gmail.com.
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Self-Certify Employee Mobilization Templates

Minnesota Milk Producers Association has provided information regarding the March 19, 2020 U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) guidelines on “critical infrastructure” sectors.

Customizable and printable templates:

MS-Word IconDOWNLOAD TEMPLATE: Essential Food and Agricultural Employee Mobilization Template -ENGLISH
MS-Word IconDOWNLOAD TEMPLATE: Essential Food and Agricultural Employee Mobilization Template- SPANISH (Document translation by Alltech)

You may read more about this on MMPA’s website at www.mnmilk.org/self-certify-work-permits/.

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MDI Update: COVID-19 and Action Plan for Team Meetings


St. Cloud, MN— On Monday, March 16th, 2020 President Donald Trump issued guidelines that called for Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and limit discretionary travel. In an increase in measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Minnesota Dairy Initiative would like MDI coordinators, farmer applicants, and team members to use discretion when planning and attending on-farm team meetings.

The Minnesota Dairy Initiative would like for teams to follow the guidelines of 10 or less people in attendance and to observe best health practices which include the following:

  • If feeling ill, do not attend meetings and stay home
  • Cough/sneeze into your arm or tissue and wash your hands afterwards
  • Try to stay in groups of 6 or less and avoid close contact. Put distance between yourself and other people by 6 feet
  • Clean your hands often – wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Have meetings electronically/online if possible

Please use discretion from MDI coordinators, farmer applicants, and team members as each region continues to move forward. Health and safety of all participants is the most important factor.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Leah Bischof, MDI State Director, at (320) 429-0611 or leahbischof@gmail.com.
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Our Mission

MDI's mission is to help existing and potential dairy producers succeed through team-based on-farm education, resources and networking.

With the help of the diagnostic teams we have been able to transition the dairy operation to the next generation.

Beltrami County Dairy Producer

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