By Caroline Kirby
While we’re just about to enter the winter season, it’s not such a bad idea to start preparing your farm for potential spring floods. In the last few years, farms across the U.S. have seen a spike in extreme weather and have suffered the aftermath of floods.
Tropical storms slammed the east coast, and summer rains flooded the Midwest – no matter where you live and farm, some of these tips could save you a lot of time and money.
Steps to take to minimize damage and risk from flooding
For many farms, flooding is inevitable, but there are a few things you can do that will minimize damage and downtime on your farm in the event of a flood.
Buy yourself some time and lower the potential damage with these steps.
• Take inventory: Create a photo catalog of all the things on your farm and where they’re located. This can be helpful for insurance claims after extreme weather. If you have livestock, then mark your animals so they can be easily returned if lost.
• Digitize documents: You should be storing all of your important documents (such as deeds and insurance paperwork) in a safe, dry place. However, getting digital copies can also be helpful in the case of major weather events.
• Double-check insurance: This is a great step to take before the threat of bad weather is even on the horizon. Double-check if you have flood insurance and get clear on what your current policy entails.
• Do regular checks on equipment: Throughout the year, you should perform checks on your generators to ensure they are working, secure any propane tanks, and make sure machinery and vital equipment are in a safe place.
• Discuss evacuation plans: Have a clear plan in place for extreme weather emergencies and communicate that with your employees, family, and anyone else who may be on the farm. Consider posting copies of important directions or escape routes around the property. If you have animals and livestock on the property, then you should also consider an evacuation plan for them ahead of time.
• Emergency contact info readily available: Make sure to have a list of emergency contacts in a known place so that it’s easily found.
• Identify safe spots: Look around for higher fields that may be a good place to take livestock during a flood, and be sure to ask for permission to use the field if it’s not your own.
As you can see, there are tons of different steps that you can take in advance that may have a significant impact on protecting your property during a flood. There are a few other things to keep in mind that can reduce the likelihood of flooding on your farm in the first place, like:
• Creating runoff ponds or sediment traps
• Avoid directing runoff towards roads and watercourses
• Discharge roof water into dry wells around the farm
• Loosen soil to create a rough surface after harvesting so that more water may soak in
What are your best tips to help prevent flooding on your farm? Browse through Land Hub’s blog for more farming resources.
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