8 Pointers to Prepare Your Farm for a Hurricane

8 Pointers to Prepare Your Farm for a Hurricane

Hurricane Michael satellite image at landfall in Florida

Are you ready for hurricane season? Is your farm? There was plenty of work to be done before and after Hurricane Michael, one of the strongest hurricanes on record to make landfall in the U.S., left billions of dollars in crop damage across the Southeast last October.
Image courtesy of NASA

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season has officially come to life. Early predictions from climate experts indicated a near-normal campaign. But no matter how many named storms develop in a given season, all it takes is one system to devastate your farm and its produce. As of this posting, that one could be Dorian.

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 in September 2017, was a wake-up call for many who hadn’t experienced a major hurricane in more than a decade. Hurricane Michael last October was a another rude reminder for many that Mother Nature never rests.

“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.
  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.