Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler’s annual plea for farmers to prepare for hurricane season is especially poignant this year, in light of Hurricane Florence’s destruction in 2018.
“So many of us are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Florence. This storm has been a disastrous reminder of just how important it is to have an emergency plan for your farm, food company or agribusiness,” Troxler said. “Take precautions, think through your plan now and discuss it with your employees and family.”
Scientists at N.C. State University are predicting 13 to 16 named storms in the Atlantic basin this year, which is the average as of recent years. Of those storms, five to seven could become hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season typically runs June 1 to Nov. 30.
Planning helps farmers protect their families, workers, equipment and buildings, Troxler said. “Livestock operations should maintain emergency plans that address power needs and on-site feed capabilities,” he said. “Also, identify places to relocate animals from low-lying areas. We need farmers to take these precautions to reduce animal losses from the storm.”
Farmers and businesses should review insurance policies to ensure they have proper coverage, including wind, hail, flood and catastrophic coverage if necessary. Some coverage takes 30 days to go into effect.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a website, www.ncagr.gov/disaster, with links and resources for different types of agribusinesses to plan and recover from a disaster. A Farm Emergency Plan Template is available on the site to help organize information that is needed after a disaster.