Disaster preparations for livestock producers

What you would do if a weather disaster struck your ranch or feed lot? I remember thinking that following the tornado that destroyed Manchester, SD.  I think we’re all guilty of focusing so much on the day-to-day issues that we ignore potentially serious possibilities. While there is nothing that we can do to prevent a severe weather outbreak, some time spent thinking about our response could prove very valuable.
One approach would be to sit down with your family and employees and start brainstorming about how to respond to emergencies. There’s usually a lot of value in gathering everyone’s input, plus it helps if everybody involved has an idea what the plan will be and everyone’s role in carrying the plan out.
One factor to consider is making sure everyone knows how to direct help to your operation. A 911 address is certainly valuable, but that doesn’t tell responders what roads to take if they aren’t familiar with the area. Alternative routes might need to be identified if the main routes are blocked. Having GPS coordinates available might be very useful if aerial assistance is required. Having all of this information written down will save valuable minutes following a disaster.
Here are some additional questions that could be considered. Every operation is different, of course, but these can serve as a starting point:
  • Are you prepared for an extended period of limited or non-existent utility service?
  • Do you have contingency plans to provide feed and water if the normal systems break down?
  • Are there any specific details that first responders should be aware of, such as pesticides or livestock waste containment systems?
  • Are there any additional security steps that could be taken? Would some additional fences or gates surrounding a confinement facility save time and effort to potentially keep livestock on your property in the event of a disaster?
  • Are the feed supplies stored in a location that could be at risk due to lightning or flooding? What alternatives are available? Would you still have access to those supplies in a situation such as flooding?
Of course no one thinks that a disaster will strike their operation, and usually they are right. But we also know that weather related disasters will strike someone, somewhere every year. Some planning ahead now could help lessen the impact if it happens to be your operation.
Source: Warren Rusche


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