FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2008
||Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
(919) 733-4216, ext. 242
NCDA&CS advising farmers to prepare for possible storm damage
RALEIGH - Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today advised farmers to take necessary steps to prepare for potential damage from Tropical Storm Hanna.
“At this point, we do not know with certainty where Tropical Storm Hanna will strike, but there are general emergency preparations every farmer can take to protect their farms, families and workers from damaging weather,” Troxler said. “The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is working with state emergency officials to ensure that we are able to provide critical services in the event Hanna does affect North Carolina.”
Farmers have been busy trying to harvest what they can from their fields, but they also need to make preparations for their families, workers, equipment and buildings and have backup plans for electricity for their curing barns and other critical farm facilities, Troxler said. In addition, livestock operations are being encouraged to begin implementing their specific emergency plans, securing backup generators and assessing their on-site feed capabilities.
“The need for generators is always high when a storm strikes. We encourage farmers to contact local farm suppliers and rental companies in advance to reserve a generator on their own in the event of power outages,” Troxler said. “There are no guarantees that state-owned generators will be available for farmers and livestock owners.”
Farmers are reminded that a properly installed transfer switch is critical to hooking up a generator in order to protect farm facilities and utility workers. Growers should have a transfer switch installed in the event they need backup power.
Farmers are also encouraged to add the phone number of their county emergency management office to their list of important numbers. County emergency management offices will be coordinating emergency crop and livestock assistance including requests for generators.
Other general emergency farm measures include:
- Continuing to monitor local weather reports for up-to-the-minute information on the storm.
- Storing or securing items or equipment that may blow away.
- Checking generators to be sure they are in good working order.
- Securing sufficient amount of fuel to operate generators.
- Turning off the propane supply at tanks.
- Securing propane tanks in the event of flooding to prevent them from floating away.
- Moving equipment to the highest open ground possible away from trees or buildings that could cause damage.
- Marking animals with an identifier so they can be easily returned to you if lost. Examples are ear tags with name of farm and/or phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.
- Moving feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.
- Coordinating with neighbors beforehand and discuss what resources can be shared. Examples include a backhoe or set of panels.
- Making sure your family’s hurricane plan is updated.
- Helping farm workers find alternative shelter if necessary.
- Having a list of important phone numbers ready and easily accessible in order to make calls following a storm. Potential numbers to include are 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 advises 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.
In the event of a hurricane strike and power outages, inspectors with the NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division and the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division will inspect food vendors and grocery and retail stores in affected areas to ensure food safety. If shelters are set up, the Food Distribution Division will assist with the transportation of food and supplies to shelters if needed.
Additional information about preparing farms for weather emergencies is available online at http://www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/stormprep.htm.