Friday May 29th, 2020
Hello everyone, It has been a few weeks since we communicated with you and wanted to reconnect today. Here we are, completing week 11 of COVID-19 response measures and we pray that you, your family members and staff remain healthy and well. We certainly can be grateful for a good planting season this year as compared to 2019. Much of the crops are in ground and even emerging. U.S. crop progress reports indicate that 65% of soybeans are planted with 35% emergent. 88% of U.S. corn is planted, advancing by 8% week by week and 65% of planted corn has emerged. Here, in Ontario, OMAFRA is saying (May 25th report) corn is almost complete other than heavy clay soiled areas. They say soybeans are 90% complete in areas where soil conditions have been fit to 20% in heavy ground/wet ground areas. GVF observations are the early grass haylage harvest has begun with many alfalfa fields ready for cutting next week. As we head into the month of June on Monday, and week 12 of COVID-19 response measures, all of us at the GVF group of companies are adjusting our customer service protocols in conjunction with changes to the guidelines that are being rolled out by the respective provincial governments. We continue to be committed to protocols that mitigate the risk of spread of coronavirus to customers and our team members while continuing to provide the products and customer service that our clients have come to expect from the GVF group of companies. We wish to thank our customers and team members for their flexibility and willingness to adapt daily routines over the last three months. It has been wonderful to witness the care and concern that we have for one another. We have been truly blessed as, to date, we havenâ€™t had any of our 160 team members or their immediate family members exhibit symptoms of C19 or test positive for the virus. We pray that this will continue to be the case. Changes to our protocols have already started to occur with the opening of the doors of our Cambridge retail store, Valley Feeds to walk-in customers (limit 10 at a time), last Friday. We are very appreciative to our Valley Feeds staff who were able to accommodate record setting sales in April while providing curbside service only. Our Fortified Nutrition Limited and Farmers Farmacy Order & Pickup locations in Winnipeg, and Brandon have also opened their doors to clients with appropriate limits to numbers of visitors according to the physical size of the facility. Our Lethbridge and Red Deer locations will open up to walk-in customers in the near future. Similarly, Farmers Farmacy is working through changes to their staff scheduling and protocols with the aim to allow walk-in customers back into the Cambridge facility on Tuesday, June 2nd.
On the sales team & nutrition support front, our team leaders have been solidifying updates to the farm visit protocols and rolled them out this week. These new protocols allow for “non-essential” farm visits assuming that the producer has welcomed our team member to the farm, an appointment has been made, a farm visit log is kept by each sales representative, and appropriate bio-security and physical distancing measures are taken during the visits. We have to recognize that our COVID related policies and procedures will be somewhat fluid over the next number of months and some provinces will “open up” sooner and in varying ways as compared to others. We all need to continue to be adaptive to our respective circumstances and provincial government regulations and guidelines, always focusing on our ability to serve our customers well through these unique and ever-changing times. Typically, at this time of year, many of us have the privilege of gathering and reconnecting at the London Swine Conference, Canadian Dairy Xpo, The National Poultry how, Red Deer Pork Congress, the Ontario Pork Congress in Stratford, World Pork Expo in Iowa as well as 4H events and summer & fall fairs. Sadly, all of these events and opportunities to visit with you in person have been cancelled for 2020. This week, we received word that even Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, always scheduled for the first of September in Woodstock Ontario has been cancelled for 2020 as well. We are endeavouring to utilize new ways of connecting with our customers in light of the cancellation of these events for 2020. This COVID – 19 “journey” is not over yet. Clearly, as a company, we will need to continue to be innovative and adaptive in operations, customer service and communication efforts in order to continue to meet the needs and desires of producers across this country. Blessings on you, your family and the growth of your crops this season,
Ian Ross President & CEO Bible verse of the week Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7