It was almost one year ago that devastating floods hit the Midwest, destroying homes and thousands of acres of farmland in states like Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. Many farmers lost their entire operation. In preparing for another flood season, here are some tips to keep your land, livestock and families safe.
Check your insurance. Many insurance policies don’t cover floods so make sure you check your benefits. If you live in a flood plain, it might be a good idea to invest in flood insurance.
Plan for your livestock’s safety. If you can’t transport your livestock to higher ground, have a plan in place to give them the best chance for survival. Before you evacuate, open your gates to allow them to migrate to higher ground. Also, leave fresh water and food in a place they can access it.
Keep extra supplies on hand. Sandbags are a must to protect your property from flooding. However, it’s important to have other supplies like hand tools, rope, fire extinguishers and generators on hand for circumstances beyond your control like loss of power, fires or being able to secure items from drifting away.
Prepare household items. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s working correctly and if you don’t have one, install one. Consider putting any appliances on platforms to reduce the possibility of damage. Also, store important, smaller items in metal or plastic containers that can float and keep your things dry.
Make an evacuation plan. Have an emergency plan in place for you and your family (as well as any workers you may have on your farm). This includes having an evacuation route, assigned duties to who prepares/does what, copies of emergency numbers and an inventory of livestock and other supplies.
Most importantly, don’t ever assume it won’t happen to you. Be prepared to evacuate and follow through with your plans. If you have questions, reach out to your local extension office.