FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29, 2010
||Sharron Stewart, director
NCDA&CS Emergency Programs Division
Troxler advises farmers to prepare for possible flooding
RALEIGH — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler advises farmers, particularly in the eastern part of the state, to take steps to guard against damage from a storm system moving up the East Coast.
“While it looks like Tropical Storm Nicole will be swallowed up by a low pressure system, the forecast still calls for a lot of rainfall in North Carolina,” Troxler said. “There are general emergency preparations every farmer can take to protect their farms and families from damaging weather. Now is the time to review emergency plans with your family and workers, and make sure your equipment and animals are secure.”
The National Weather Service says the storm system will dump 4 to 8 inches of rain on the North Carolina coast Thursday. Sustained winds up to 40 miles per hour also are possible.
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 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.