To the Farbest Family and Community,
Thank you for your tireless dedication and commitment to our company during a time of great uncertainty. We have the awesome responsibility of supplying the world a quality source of protein, and we proudly own that responsibility. Because of the nature of our business and the President’s Executive Order as of April 28th, we fall into the category of “Critical Infrastructure” according to the United States government and as a result, have remained in production during the COVID-19 pandemic under the Defense Production Act. Importantly, all of our supply chain vendors, farm families who grow our turkeys, employees in the processing plants, feed mills, and farms, as well as our customers, remain devoted to feeding the world during unprecedented times such as these. We communicate company-wide updates via many different outlets in English and Spanish multiple times a week, seeking to provide as much information to our workforce as possible about the current state of COVID-19 in our area.
Even as the state of Indiana has begun to reopen in stages, Farbest maintains the previously taken necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of these groups and our employees. This is especially crucial as our counties in Indiana—as well as the state overall—have seen an uptick in cases during the month of July. We fully expect to take further precautions as they are needed and as the situation demands. In addition to the standard daily sanitizing of our facilities, we have implemented additional measures that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Increasing monitoring at the manufacturing plants by inquiring about general health and recent travel, taking temperatures of all employees (those with temperatures over 100 degrees or other symptoms will be sent home), relaxing our attendance policy from mid-March until July 6th, appropriately spacing out employees during entry/exit, staggering shift start times, and slowing the assembly line down to allow distancing at start of breaks and meals
- Encouraging pregnant employees, employees aged 65+, or 60+ with compromised immune systems, to take a paid quarantine at home for their safety from mid-March until July 6th
- Emphasizing social distancing with suspension of all non-essential meetings, increased seating options in break rooms and cafeterias, and adding spatial dividers on the assembly line and in the cafeteria as well as at picnic tables outside the facility and within the Human Resources office
- Providing masks and requiring their use, providing and encouraging the use of face shields, offering ample access to hand sanitizer, as well as additional sanitizing of common areas such as cafeterias, break rooms, restrooms, locker rooms, and vending machines every two hours
- Immediate halt to corporate travel and non-essential commuting between our many facilities until September 1st
- Implementing “telemedicine” for all employees enrolled in our benefits program and offering our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to those who may feel isolated, anxious, or scared
- Weekly audits at the plants of our processes and facilities, as well as audits for social distancing and mask wearing
- Continued messaging and communication about access to testing, close contact tracking, identifying symptoms, best practices for slowing the spread, and recommendations from the CDC and the state of Indiana for staying safe in the community, at work, at home, and during travel
Please trust that we look at all options to further improve the health and safety of our workforce daily. It is everyone’s duty to still use social distancing behaviors at work and at home, as well as follow best hygiene practices in order to keep our families, friends, and team members safe. The situation remains ever-changing, which is why we must be flexible to adapt and open to suggestions for furthering the safety of our employees.
Our message has not changed: If you do not feel well, please stay at home and get tested. If you feel a shortness of breath or you have a fever and/or cough, stay at home, call your healthcare provider, or get tested. If you, someone you live with, or someone you have been in close contact with is being tested for COVID-19, please notify Human Resources. You may have questions about COVID-19 or the policies and procedures of Farbest during this time, and we encourage you to call Human Resources at (812) 683-4200, Ext. 3133. One of our team members would be more than willing to help.
Our People and their safety will always be our first priority. We monitor the situation daily with the utmost care and attention. Again, thanks to all for upholding the high standards of Farbest amidst a global crisis. It is not a light load to bear, but our people have risen to the challenge every day. Together, we will continue to feed the world!
Ted J. Seger, President