Winter farm

Farmers are wise to prepare for winter storms as well as other emergencies. Here are some tips provided by Iowa State University’s Center for Food Security and Public Health.

Gather information

  • What disasters or hazards are most likely in your community? For your farm?
  • How would you be warned?
  • How should you prepare for each?
  • Learn the warning systems for your community.
  • Are you able to hear or see the appropriate warning from your farm?
  • Stay alert for emergency broadcasts, such as the Emergency Alert System broadcasts on radio or television, NOAA weather radio alerts, and other news sources — radio, television or internet.

Put it in writing

Put together an emergency supply kit for your family. Draw a farm site map and indicate:

  • Buildings and structures
  • Access routes (e.g., roads, lanes)
  • Barriers (fences, gates)
  • Locations of livestock
  • Locations of all hazardous substances
  • Electrical shutoff locations, etc.

Make a list of your farm inventory, include:

  • Livestock (species, number of animals)
  • Crops (acres, type)
  • Machinery and equipment (make, model #)
  • Hazardous substances (e.g., pesticides, fertilizers, fuels, medicines, other chemicals)

Keep a list of emergency phone numbers:

  • Your local and state veterinarian
  • County Extension service
  • Local emergency management
  • Insurance agent

Make a list of suppliers or businesses providing services to your farm:

  • Livestock or milk transport, feed delivery, fuel delivery, etc.

Contact your insurance agent to:

  • Review your insurance coverage.
  • Get additional coverage for “all-hazard” situations (e.g., flood, hail damage).

Gather supplies

Stockpile supplies needed to protect the farm:

  • Sandbags and plastic sheeting, in case of flood
  • Wire and rope to secure objects
  • Lumber and plywood to protect windows
  • Extra fuel for tractors and vehicles
  • Hand tools for preparation and recovery
  • Fire extinguishers in all barns and all vehicles
  • A safe supply of feed for livestock
  • A gas-powered generator
  • Identify areas (e.g., higher elevation) to relocate your assets — livestock, equipment, feed, grain, hay and chemical — if needed.
  • Remove or secure any loose equipment or materials, such as lumber or fuel tanks.

Prepare employees

  • Keep them informed of the farm’s emergency plan; review it with them regularly.
  • Identify shelter-in-place or evacuation locations.
  • Establish a phone tree with contact information for all employees.

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