The start of the Atlantic hurricane season was June 1st, but data shows that less than 15 percent of the season’s hurricanes are in June and July. As August begins, hurricane season starts to heat up. Those in the ag industry need to complete their ag hurricane prep if they have not already done so.
Ag Hurricane Prep for All
There are many items on an ag hurricane prep ‘To-Do’ list that will be applicable for every ag operation. These items, provided by UF/IFAhS Extension, are general tips for ag prep if a major hurricane makes landfall near your farm or ranch.
For your ag operation, make sure to:
- Inspect all barns, outbuildings, paddocks, and other structures. Look for loose metal roofing and siding, weak walls, etc. that might blow away, fall or otherwise fail in high winds. Make all repairs, including interior and exterior braces and re-nailing metal roofing and siding.
- Ensure rafters are secured to the wall with hurricane-rated straps or 2″ x 6″ knee braces at the studding.
- Buy nails, screws, and plywood to board up windows and to nail doors and windows closed.
- Know how to turn off electricity at the switch, and then unplug electrical equipment before a storm hits.
- Store heavy, expensive machinery to sturdy buildings. Don’t use expensive equipment to anchor structures.
Protecting Your Livestock
Ag hurricane prep for operations with livestock have more taske. If you have large animals like dairy or beef cows, it’s recommended to let them loose in the field, ensuring that the fields are not in low-lying areas that could flood. If low-laying areas are the only option, build dirt mounds for animals to stand. Smaller livestock, such as chickens, should be kept indoors in a building that’s safe from flooding and has adequate ventilation.
Ag operations with livestock should consider doing the following:
- Buying a gas-powered generator to power vent fans, water pumps, milking machines, or other vital electrical machinery.
- Store enough feed for livestock out of the reach of flood waters.
- Have a reliable source of clean water; allowing livestock to drink flood water is not recommended.
- Store fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals high and safe from flood waters and animals.
- Protect animals from sharp or cutting edges of equipment and machinery.
The financial damages suffered due to hurricanes can be avoided with planning well before a storm is ready to hit. Prepare your ag operation as soon as possible.