Hurricane season, especially in recent years, has been largely unpredictable and damaging. Regions throughout the country who have seldom experienced the many dangers and damages linked to hurricanes are now finding themselves hurrying to prepare before a large storm hits. While a number of factors have certainly contributed to the abundance of hurricanes and the extreme damage that they cause, protecting plants and other crops from the elements that come along with any hurricane is paramount. Those who operate farms must have a plan of action established in the event that an unexpected hurricane or tornado strikes.
When the National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch, it is imperative that gardeners, farmers, growers, and the like react immediately. Those who neglect to prepare their land for a serious storm will find themselves in financial ruin as they can no longer depend on their crop production. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a strict set of rules and regulations regarding the agriculture industry and hurricane damage. The EPA, in conjunction with the Texas A&M Farmstead Preparedness & Recovery Program, has provided the following tips for farmers:
- Create a disaster plan to ensure the safety of family members, co-workers, and livestock
- When creating the disaster plan, take into account protecting the crops, machinery, equipment, water supplies, agricultural chemicals, and food storage for the animals
- Take a thorough inventory of everything, the more comprehensive the better
- Record a list of all fuels, fertilizers, pesticides, and any other important chemicals utilized on the crops
- Prepare a disaster supply kit which should include: plastic sheets and sandbags for flood prep, rope, wire, emergency fuel, food for livestock, plywood for window protection, small tool kit, fire extinguisher, and a gas-powered generator
In terms of land preparation, growers should follow these tips:
- Plan escape routes for all livestock
- In flood-prone regions, remove any machinery, fuels, hay, pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemicals
- Make sure to secure any loose items on the field
From the farm land itself to the crops and livestock, preparing your harvest and property for a serious storm is a complex, lengthy process. Do not wait until disaster is looming to start preparations. Hurricane season has begun, make sure that your crops are protected!