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Is Your Farm Ready For An Emergency?

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
October 26, 2016        
Source:  Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator-Livestock
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Is Your Farm Ready For An Emergency?
By Emily Wilmes, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (10/26/16) — Hurricane season in the southeast and the upcoming winter have many people thinking about emergency action plans.  Creating an emergency action plan for your farm might seem like a time-wasting task, but it could save lives if the unexpected does happen.  Take the time to get together with everyone who works on your farm, and start planning.  Creating an emergency plan doesn’t have to be complicated.  Having just a few key pieces of information can help you create a quick and simple plan.  Here are five steps to creating a plan for your farm.

• First, determine what kind of plans you need.  In Minnesota, farmers should consider having emergency plans in place for tornadoes, floods, severe snowstorms, and fires.  Also, know what alert plans are in place for your community, and figure out the best way to alert one another in order to set your plan into action.

• Second, create a map of your entire farm site.  Include all buildings and structures as well as access routes.  Of course you know where everything is, but seeing it drawn out in front of you will help you see the opportunities and challenges when making your plan.

• Third, make lists.  You will want lists for a few different things.  One of those is a full list of your farm inventory.  Include all livestock on the farm, crop types, number of acres, crops stored on the farm, machinery and equipment, and hazardous substances.  You should also make an emergency contact list.  Include phone numbers for your vet, county emergency management, Extension office, and your insurance agent. 

• Fourth, understand your current position.  Contact your insurance agent and review your coverage for emergency and disaster situations.  Check what you have for supplies you may need in an emergency, such as tools, fire extinguishers, and generators.  Determine what areas you can utilize in an emergency situation for livestock and equipment relocation. 

• Fifth, create the action plan.  You will most likely have two scenarios to review: one of sheltering in place, and another of evacuation.  If you are going to be sheltering in place, plan for what to do if resources are cut off.  If you are going to be evacuating, determine where everyone will go.

The important thing when making an emergency action plan is to make sure everyone is involved.  Keeping everyone informed and assigning tasks will ensure that the plan is put into action promptly and that every component of the plan is completed.  I hope you and your farm are always safe from disaster, but if something does happen, it’s important to be prepared.  Having a plan can make the difference between losing it all or saving everything.


Emily Wilmes
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems - Livestock
(320) 255-6169