Canberra has finally declared livestock saleyards and wool auctions are an essential part of the agriculture supply chain.
Federal Agriculture and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud has confirmed livestock saleyards and wool auctions are able to continue.
"These are an essential part of the broader agriculture supply chain," he said.
"They are different to real estate auctions because of their importance to the nation.
"The Government is working tirelessly to safeguard the supply chain from the farm to the market.
"In particular, interruptions to livestock saleyards could impact adversely on the availability and price of meat.
"Like the rest of Australia, livestock saleyards and wool auctions will need to comply with strict social distancing and hygiene practices.
"This includes no more than one person per four square metres at indoor auctions and any other particular requirements of your jurisdiction.
"Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, avoid touching your face and if sick, stay home.
"I thank the (AWEX) National Auction Selling Committee and the individual saleyards that have already taken steps to implement social distancing protocols.
"And I ask those involved to please consider if their livestock saleyards and wool auctions can be held online, remotely, deferred or be cancelled to do so.
"Agriculture and food security are critical to Australia at the best of times. They are even more so during this the COVID-19 crisis."
Major livestock groups welcomed Minister Littleproud's assurance on saleyards and wool auctions.
In a joint statement saleyard operators, agents, buyers, processors and producers said they acutely aware of the immense challenge the COVID-19 health emergency posed.
Attendance at sales will be limited to essential saleyard site staff, accredited livestock agents and essential agency staff along with genuine buyers with a true intention to purchase.
Livestock transporters will still be able to access saleyard facilities for unloading and loading of livestock.
The story Saleyards and wool auctions ruled essential services first appeared on Farm Online.