Troxler advises farmers to dust off plans for hurricane season
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler reminds farmers that now is a good time to prepare for hurricane season.
"Basic emergency planning can lessen any crisis situation," Troxler said. "I encourage all farmers to review their plans and get ready. Assessing what your most pressing needs will be if you should lose power, or are at risk for flooding, can be the difference in salvaging a crop or saving livestock."
Farmers should create emergency plans for their families, workers, equipment and buildings, and have backup plans for electricity and drinkable water for their barns and other critical farm facilities, Troxler said. Livestock operations should have plans in place to address power needs, temporary fencing, and on-site feed capabilities.
Troxler added that now is the time for farmers to think about things like installing a transfer switch so they can use a generator. A properly installed and clearly identified transfer switch is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers, he said.
Troxler offered the following tips for preparing farms for major storms:
- Store or secure items or equipment that might blow away.
- Identify places to relocate animals from low-lying areas.
- Check generators to be sure they are in good working order and secure a sufficient amount of fuel to operate them. Or contact local farm suppliers and rental companies in advance to reserve a generator in the event of a power outage.
- Turn off the propane supply at tanks.
- Secure propane tanks in the event of flooding to prevent them from floating away.
- Move equipment to the highest open ground possible away from trees or buildings that could cause damage.
- Mark animals with an identifier so they can be easily returned if lost. Examples are ear tags with name of farm and phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.
- Move feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.
- Pesticide storage areas should be secure, and farmers in low-lying areas should do whatever they can to elevate or move pesticides to locations that are less likely to flood.
- Coordinate with neighbors beforehand and discuss what resources can be shared, such as a backhoe or livestock panels.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers in order to make calls following a storm, including the local emergency management office, county extension agent, insurance agent, county Farm Service Agency and private veterinarian.
- Be prepared to photograph and document damage once storm has passed.
For more information, go to www.ncagr.com/paffairs/stormprep.htm.