Today’s Topic: Farmers, it’s time to prepare for hurricane season

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Southern Farm Network logoThe Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. Scientists at N.C. State University are predicting an above-average season, with 13 to 17 named storms in the Atlantic basin. Seven to 10 of those storms could become hurricanes.

In the audio interview below, Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda that now is the time for farmers to review their disaster plans and prepare for the season. By planning now, farmers can potentially reduce the damage that occurs a hurricane or tropical storm causes.

There are several things farmers can do now to prepare their property for a hurricane:

Equipment Needed

  • Generator: Consider purchasing, leasing or negotiating a rental arrangement for a backup generator in advance. If you plan to rent a generator, read the contract carefully, as some rental contracts are only for 8 hours use per day. Is it cheaper to rent or buy?
  • Have a transfer switch properly installed so you can use a generator. This is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers.
  • Fuel for vehicles and generators, and a hand fuel pump.
  • Emergency Preparedness Kit: Fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, a camera that stamps date and time, flashlights, batteries and other items.
  • NOAA weather radio and batteries.
  • Water and feed for animals.
  • Two-way radios.

Property Preparations

  • Clear debris from drainage ditches so water can run freely.
  • Check power line clearance; some of the greatest damage is from downed power lines and long power outages. See if trees need pruning or removing.
  • Survey your buildings; do you need to trim or cut down trees near barns or home? Check for damaged trees and consider removal before a storm. Also check the condition of the buildings; a few extra nails or tighter hurricane strapping can limit further damage.
  • Clear away all debris that could blow around in high winds.
  • Secure any signage.
  • Take photos of valuable items and store off site; store all business records above flood level.

Reviewing Your Business

  • Review your insurance policies. Be sure you have adequate coverage for homeowners, vehicles, farm buildings and structures, crops and flood. Learn the different types of wind, hail, and catastrophic insurance coverages.
  • Develop an emergency plan for your family and your crew. Be sure everyone knows where to meet, and preparation and recovery duties are prioritized and assigned.
  • Review your debt level and finances. Do you have unpaid debts that would go unpaid if you lost 50 percent of your crop in one year? Do you have a cash reserve you could use to replace a loss of income?

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss the hurricane season and find out about strike teams the department has created to help farmers after a storm. For more information about preparing farms for disasters, visit the department’s website at www.ncagr.gov/disaster.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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