RALEIGH – Farmers across the state are urged to clear drainage ditches, secure signage and loose objects, stock up on fuel and feed to be prepared for days of wet weather that may be followed by hurricane conditions. The state has already seen almost a week of rain that has saturated the ground. If Hurricane Joaquin tracks close to the coast, it could cause trees to topple and create widespread power outages, something that can be especially devastating to poultry and tobacco farmers.
“Now is the time to take a tour through the farm and clean things up to help minimize damage caused by debris, wind and flooding,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Troxler offers farmers these suggestions to prepare for this week’s weather conditions:
— 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 eight hours use per day.
— Have a transfer switch properly installed so you can use a generator. This is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers.
— Before a hurricane hits, purchase additional 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.
— Clear debris from drainage ditches so water can run freely.
— Move equipment, pesticides and fertilizers to higher ground.
— 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.
For more preparedness tips, other information, and to download a Farm Emergency Plan Template, go to www.ncagr.gov/disaster.