From floods to tornados to barn fires and more, a disaster can happen almost anywhere. When you are a farmer or rancher, you need to have an emergency disaster plan in place in case the unexpected strikes, and implement it at a moment’s notice.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Whether your farm or ranch is prone to flooding, or your property could see waters rise during a storm, it’s important to have a plan for your livestock. An evacuation plan should have provisions for moving large animals and allow time to transport. If your animals will be sharing space with livestock from other farms or ranches, be sure they have durable identification to avoid confusion between the herds. Also, if animals will be sharing close quarters, make sure they are current on vaccinations.
Create Call Lists
Create a call list with emergency phone numbers with your employees, veterinarian, trailering resources and neighboring farmers. Keep this list posted (on paper) and in your cell phone so you have the numbers handy at a moment’s notice. Any employees or ranch hands should also have a copy of these phone numbers.
Feed and Hydrate
The emergency disaster plan for your ranch or farm should also address how you will feed and hydrate your livestock. Your trailering system should have room for adequate food for a week or more. If you relocate your animals to higher ground, make sure animals have ready access to fresh water. Don’t rely on water from underground wells as the water is often contaminated during a flood situation.
If time allows, reinforce structures by boarding up windows (and preventing broken glass). If possible, install a kill-switch so you can shut off electricity to structures if disaster or extreme weather strikes. You will want to prevent live wires from being anywhere near pools of water. If you have something that will require constant electricity, be sure you have generators in case of widespread power outages.
From chemicals to fertilizers, label hazardous materials ahead of time, and store in a secure and dry location. Your emergency disaster plan should outline how you will handle any spills or accidents. If you find that materials have spilled, alert the local fire and rescue authorities so they can assist with safe clean up.
Mitigate Fire Risk
Barn fires — a common cause of disaster — can create a dangerous situation. Prevention is key in preventing barn fires. Never store flammable materials or machinery inside a barn. Inspect electrical systems and take care of fraying wires. Be sure hay is completely dry before it is stored, as moisture can cause combustion in many instances. If your barn ever ignites, avoid entering — contact emergency services immediately.
Review Coverage Needs
If machinery is damaged in a collision or fire, it could be an expensive repair bill without Replacement Cost Coverage. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent about adding this coverage to your farm and ranch policy before disaster strikes.
Farm Bureau Loss Control services can assist you in preparing for disasters on your farm or ranch. Contact the Loss Control Services team for assistance in developing a plan and locating the best resources for your farm or ranch.