Farmers need to prepare for current hurricane season

Published 11:44 pm Sunday, June 8, 2008

VIDALIA — Hurricane season began June 1, and just as homeowners need to take precautions for incoming storms, livestock owners and producers should be prepared for disaster.

In a recent statement from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Commissioner Mike Strain said six to nine hurricanes are predicted for the season, and that some of those storms could be severe.

Though any storms that make it to Adams County or Concordia Parish will likely be significantly weakened, livestock owners still need to have a contingency plan in case access to food or clean drinking water for the animals is cut off.

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“You need to know what you are going to do before the storm hits,” Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter said. “After it hits, you don’t know if you’re going to be able to work around the damage or not.”

Producers should also make sure everything they will need to respond before or after a storm is in working condition.

“No doubt the expense of movement and stress to livestock needs to be considered, but this is a good time to make sure your trailers are in good working order,” Strain said. “Check your tail lights and tires and repair or replace them if necessary.”

In Adams County, the Mississippi State Extension Service offers a disaster response program in which livestock owners register their livestock with the service for quicker disaster response such as emergency hay delivery.

“We don’t know who has animals or who doesn’t, and once you get a big disaster like the recent flooding, of course everybody needs help, but those who are signed up for the program we are gong to help first because we will already know where they are,” Carter said.

Some other tips to consider when preparing for a storm include making sure you have five days worth of food on hand, up-to-date records and proper identification such as ear tags or tattoos on the animals.

To sign up for the Adams County emergency program, contact the extension service at 601-445-8201.