Every year, dairy farms across the nation are forced to deal with the aftermath of spring flooding. While farms that operate in frequently flooded areas may expect some high waters each year and prepare accordingly, flooding can be an unexpected crisis almost anywhere—even in regions that only rarely see flooding conditions. Whether it’s due to heavy rains or melting snow, flood waters can threaten the future of your dairy farm, and it’s worth taking the time to prepare for the worst.
Are You Ready to Weather a Flood on Your Dairy Farm?
Whether you own a huge commercial dairy operation or a small family farm, your livestock and property are your livelihood. As you start making plans for 2015, protect your investment by taking a moment to think about the following questions about your potential losses this spring:
- How much do I really need to worry about flooding? While you may expect some flood risks if you’re located on a river or coastline, even farms in infrequently flooded regions could deal with standing water from heavy rains or water damage from an unusually fast snowmelt.
- What will need to be done to secure the farm in case of flood? Whether you have to evacuate the farm or are able to stay, make a plan for shutting off gas and other utilities in the event of a flood. You will also want to consider how you will handle any hazardous materials and chemicals, like fertilizers, fuel, and pesticides, as well as how to secure buildings and equipment.
- Where can I relocate livestock in a flood situation? Keeping your livestock safe is a high priority, and having a plan in place means that you have a better chance of taking care of your animals in unexpected flood. Consider plans for transporting cattle to temporary shelter on high ground and how you will provide feed, water, and other necessities.
- How will I handle milk handling and transportation? Although your regular operations have been interrupted, you will still have to have plans for how to handle milk production, storage, and shipping in situations where you may be without utilities or clear routes.
- Do I have a current list of farm property? In a large loss event, it will be helpful to have access to a thorough, detailed, and current list of your livestock counts, equipment, crops, buildings, and other farm property and assets.
- What flood losses will my farm insurance cover? Dairy farms can lose animals, equipment, feed stores, and more in a flood, and the costs can be staggering. Take the time to look over your current flood coverage. If you aren’t adequately protected by your existing policies, then it might be wise to look into options for extending your insurance coverage.
For more information about farm insurance and dealing with losses after a disaster, request your FREE copy of our eye-opening book, Understanding Agricultural Insurance Claims.