FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPT. 6, 2007
||Sharron Stewart, acting director
NCDA&CS Emergency Programs Division
Troxler advises farmers to prepare for possible storm damage
RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today advised farmers, particularly in the eastern part of the state, to take steps to guard against damage from a low-pressure storm system in the Atlantic.
“At this point, we don’t know for certain if this weather system will affect North Carolina, but there are general emergency preparations every farmer can take to protect their farms and families from damaging weather,” Troxler said. “Now is the time to review emergency plans with your family and workers, and make sure your equipment and animals are secure.”
Eastern North Carolina farmers who have been baling cornstalks to feed livestock need to protect this material from water in case the system hits the state, Troxler said.
To protect cornstalk bales from rain, N.C. Cooperative Extension recommends stacking them in a barn or moving them off the ground and covering them with heavy-duty black plastic or a tarp. For information about storing cornstalk hay, go to www.ces.ncsu.edu/disaster/drought and download “Corn Stalks and Drought-Damaged Corn Hay as Emergency Feed for Beef Cattle.”
It isn’t clear whether the low-pressure system will organize into a tropical storm. Meteorologists say that if the system becomes more organized, it could affect North Carolina by late Saturday or early Sunday.
Farmers have been busy trying to harvest what they can from their fields, but they also need to make preparations for their families, equipment and buildings, and have backup plans for electricity for their curing barns and other critical farm facilities, Troxler said. In addition, livestock operations should begin implementing their specific emergency plans, securing backup generators and assessing their on-site feed capabilities.
Troxler reminded farmers that they should have a transfer switch properly installed so they can use a generator. A properly installed transfer switch is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers, he said.
Farmers are also encouraged to add the phone number of their county emergency management office to their list of important numbers. If necessary, county emergency management offices will be coordinating emergency crop and livestock assistance, including requests for generators.
Troxler also offered the following tips for preparing farms for major storms:
- Continue to monitor local weather reports for up-to-the-minute information on the storm;
- Store or secure items or equipment that might blow away;
- Relocate livestock and animals from low-lying areas;
- Check generators to be sure they are in good working order and secure a sufficient amount of fuel to operate them;
- Turn off the propane supply at tanks;
- Secure propane tanks in the event of flooding to prevent them from floating away;
- Move equipment to the highest open ground possible away from trees or buildings that could cause damage.
- Mark animals with an identifier so they can be easily returned if lost. Examples are ear tags with name of farm and phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.
- Move feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.
- Coordinate with neighbors beforehand and discuss what resources can be shared. Examples include a backhoe or set of panels.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers in order to make calls following a storm. Examples include the local emergency management office, county extension agent, insurance agent, county Farm Service Agency and private veterinarian.
In addition, pesticide applicators should look to secure their pesticide storage areas. Applicators in low-lying areas should do whatever they can to elevate or move pesticides to locations that are less likely to flood.
The NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division is also advising pest control companies that termite control applications, especially pre-treats of slab structures, should not be performed less than 24 hours before torrential rains. Termiticides need time to bond with the soil before getting wet.