New service offers help if farmers get COVID-19

WWNY New service offers help if farmers get COVID-19

TOWN OF CROGHAN, N.Y. (WWNY) - On a sports team, you need a bench. People on the bench come in when people in the game need a break.

Imagine the game is farming. There’s a new service that’s creating a bench for farmers - a group people who can help out if a farmer or his family is stricken with COVID-19.

Spring is an especially busy time for the workers at Beller Family Farm in the town of Croghan.

Aside from the usual care of nearly 900 animals, there's land to be tilled, crops to be planted, and fertilizer to be spread.

If any of the workers were to fall ill with COVID-19, that work can't just wait until they recover.

"They are busy all day long. It's extremely important this time of year to keep everything operating as smooth as possible," said Jon Beller, Beller Family Farm owner.

To help avoid employee shortages if workers become ill, the New York Farm Bureau is crafting a new service where local workers can register into a database to be a temporary replacement if the need arises.

"It's critical to make sure we have a way to quickly connect with potential employees to make things happen," said Devon Shelmidine, Jefferson County Farm Bureau president.

"It's peace of mind to know the cows can still get milked, the crops can still get out. It's a service not only for dairy farmers, but the whole food chain to keep everything flowing," said Beller.

If you’re looking for work, or just want to help, you can apply to be a relief worker on

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