It’s the beginning of hurricane season, time for farmers in Florida to worry about potential damage from a storm. Every farm and ranch in Florida must have an emergency plan in case of a hurricane, said a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension director.
“The main thing is that farmers need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a more than a week if a storm hits,” said Doug Mayo, center director of UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County. “It’s best to prepare now for a hurricane because this can minimize confusion and delays.”
Mayo offered the following tips:
- 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.
- Purchase batteries for flashlights and lanterns. Have enough flashlights ready for each employee. June 1 to 7 is the state’s designated week for hurricane prep tax-free shopping. This would be a great time to stock up on supplies.
- Stock up on feed for animals receiving supplemental feeds. Don’t forget the cat and dog food. 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.
- Check to ensure generators are ready and in working order for livestock operations that rely on electricity for milking parlors, chicken houses, wells for watering livestock and electric fence chargers.
- Make sure chainsaws are in good working order and stock up on mixed fuel.
- Locate chains and come-a-long for limb and tree movement off fences and buildings.
- Stock up on fence repair materials: wire, posts and staples for repairing fences damaged by limbs and trees.
By Beverly James, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences