8 Pointers to Prepare Your Farm for Hurricane Season

8 Pointers to Prepare Your Farm for Hurricane Season

Farm cleanup following Irma

Are you ready for another hurricane season? Is your farm? There was plenty of work to be done before and after Hurricane Irma tore up farm fields across Florida last September. Photo by Monica Ozores-Hampton

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is fast approaching. Early predictions from climate experts indicate another active campaign ahead. And no matter how many named storms are in a given season, all it takes is one system to wreak havoc on your farm and its produce.

While the tropics are still heating up, now is the time for farmers to assess their operation and strengthen strategies to sustain and survive a storm. It’s essential every farm and ranch in Florida have an emergency plan in case of a hurricane, according to Doug Mayo, Director of the UF/IFAS Extension Center in Jackson County.

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Hurricane Irma, which struck the state last September, was a reminder/wake-up call for many who hadn’t experienced a major hurricane in more than a decade.

“The main thing is that farmers need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a more than a week if a storm hits,” Mayo stated.

To help optimize your farm’s hurricane season preparation, Mayo provides the following tips:

  1. Create a printed list of extended family, veterinarian, employees and their families, your local farm services agency office, utility company and local county Extension office.
  2. Purchase batteries for flashlights and lanterns. Have enough flashlights ready for each employee. June 1-7 is the state’s designated week for hurricane prep tax-free shopping. This would be a great time to stock up on supplies.
  3. Stock up on feed for animals receiving supplemental feeds. Have enough hay, feed, and health-care supplies on hand for one to two weeks. Feed stores may not be open for business for a week or more after a storm.
  4. Check to ensure generators are ready and in working order.
  5. Make sure chainsaws are in good working order and stock up on mixed fuel.
  6. Locate chains and come-a-long for limb and tree movement off fences and buildings.
  7. Stock up on fence-repair materials: wire, posts, and staples for repairing fences damaged by limbs and trees.

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8. In addition to the tips mentioned above by Mayo, make sure to re-familiarize yourself with your crop insurance policy and coverage options.

For more hurricane season preparation tips and resources for your farm, visit http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu.