VDACS News Releases
January 19, 2016
Preparing Livestock and Farms for Winter Storms
The time to prepare is now, before a storm hits
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) urges all farmers to prepare ahead of time for power outages, threats to livestock and poultry, structural or crop damage, insurance claims and damage that can accompany a strong winter storm. Agricultural producers especially need to consider livestock that range in remote locations from the main farm and may be difficult to reach because of blocked roads.
Equipment needs can include a generator, fuel, a hand fuel pump, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, a camera to record damage, blankets, flashlights and batteries, NOAA weather radio, and stored water and feed for humans and livestock.
Tobacco farms or nursery operations with greenhouses, dairies, and hog and poultry operations are especially vulnerable if power remains out for a lengthy period; those farmers may want to purchase a generator. Farmers who cannot purchase a generator should consider leasing or negotiating a rental arrangement for a back-up generator in advance.
Property preparations can include checking power lines for clearance and pruning or removing trees that could fall on lines, surveying buildings for limbs or trees close to buildings and pounding in extra nails or tightening straps to prevent wind damage. Other precautions include clearing away all debris that could blow in high winds, securing farm signs and photographing valuable items and storing the pictures digitally.
Finally, farmers should develop an emergency plan for their families and their farm workers. They also need to assign and prioritize preparation and recovery duties before a storm hits.
These are those things to do once the weather report indicates a problem storm is brewing.
A final reminder to farmers: even though you may be physically fit, remember that no matter your age or physical condition, overexertion while shoveling snow and cleaning up from the storm can cause health problems such as a sudden heart attack. Pace yourself and be sure to bundle up to avoid over exposure to cold, wetness and wind.
Being prepared for winter storms could help farmers limit their losses, but preparation needs to begin now, before a problem storm hits.
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