Uk Govt says farms 'fail to realise dangers of 2000 bug'greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
From the Electronic Telegraph (London:
Thursday 11 March 1999
Farms 'fail to realise dangers of 2000 bug' By David Brown, Agriculture Editor Electronic Telegraph Y2K forum
BRITAIN'S food supplies are at risk because farmers are not taking the threat of the Millennium bug seriously enough, the Government said yesterday.
Too few producers have taken action to protect cold stores, glasshouses, milking machines and feeding systems which could be knocked out of action. Animals and poultry might die, fruit and vegetables could be destroyed and food distribution systems disrupted, it warned.
The bug, which leaves some computers unable to operate properly because they fail to recognise the year 2000, could pose a huge welfare problem if it disrupts the automatic ventilation and feeding systems in battery hen houses, broiler sheds and pig rearing units, experts warned. Dairy cows could suffer considerable pain and discomfort if automatic milking machines fail and there are not enough people available with the skill and stamina to milk large herds by hand. Despite the scale of the threat, "the level of action taken by the farming industry to deal with the Millennium Bug remains worryingly low", the Ministry of Agriculture said.
Launching a new campaign to stir farmers into action, Lord Donoughue, the farming industry minister, said: "This is an issue which the whole industry needs to take seriously. The Millennium bug poses potential problems for businesses of all kinds, including farms. "Some people are already working to beat the problem but it is vital that everyone takes action now."
The Ministry and the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales have produced a range of free guides to help farmers to identify problem areas. Ben Gill, NFU president, said: "No farmer or grower can escape from the potential problems of the Millennium bug.
"The bug could affect farm businesses in ways which many farmers may not have considered. There are many simple and effective measures which can be taken to combat the problem but they need to be taken sooner rather than later."
William McKenzie, who runs a broiler farm in Hampshire producing 80,000 chickens at a time in deep litter sheds for shops and supermarkets, said he had deliberately steered clear of too much high technology. "We take the view that we are talking about live animals on the farm, not just products on a production line."
The farm's automatic alarm systems have all been checked, he said, in preparation for the Millennium. "We are taking no chances. Both my brother and I will be stone cold sober on the night of the Millennium just in case something goes wrong."
Some farmers have invested in basic emergency equipment - including bulk water tanks and generators in case supplies from outside fail. Others, faced with the biggest slump in farm incomes for 30 years, are agonising over the extra expense.
John Towers, a beef, milk and sheep farmer from Farleton, near Lancaster, said he was pleasantly surprised at how much of his computer, milking parlour and timing units were declared clear of "bug" problems after checks.
He was more concerned about the impact of computer failures up and downstream of his own business. "I have been considering for a long time whether to buy a generator. I can't really justify the cost but now I think I may be forced to do it to protect my business."
Cut and pasted by
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 18, 1999
This was a super post. Just read it again.
You keep well now!
-- Watchful (email@example.com), March 20, 1999.
Moo misery, herds bleating. Mooo oowww
-- mooo (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 1999.