Emergency preparedness minimizes loss. Emergency preparedness and planning on your backyard ranch are the most important
things you can do to protect your family, home, pets, livestock, horses and equipment. Farmers and ranchers suffer huge losses from all sorts of disasters.
Losses can include: economical, supply of food, animal safety (death loss or injury) and peoples lives (risked to save livestock or owners that refuse to leave due to their livestock).
Your local and state emergency management office including the state extension office can help by providing available resources and planning before the disaster. Meet with them and discuss the plans and resources already in place so you can better prepare.
Emergency Preparedness – Livestock Disaster Statistics:
- The U.S. is the largest food producing nation in the world.
- 40% of the U.S. population lived on farms at the beginning of the 20th century, now only 1.8% live on farms. Farming and ranching has intensified to increased productivity resulting in more animals in smaller spaces. This makes us more vulnerable to disasters.
- The U.S. is one of the largest suppliers of food for humanitarian
programs in other countries.
Emergency Preparedness – Livestock Disaster Impact
The impact of a disaster effects the entire livestock industry which not only includes farmers and ranchers as a whole, but also: selling feed, marketing, supplying animal/livestock accessories, providing heath services to animals.
Just to put that into perspective, the 1998 ice storm of the northeast U.S. cost in excess of $10 million dollars in losses in two counties alone. The two counties included 421 dairy farms. Not only was this initial cost devastating but also long term losses in production of approximately 30%. The losses included:
- death loss and sickness of animals
- dumped milk due to lack of refrigeration/electricity
- unusable milk inside the cows
- general repairs and generators
- treatment of sickness of the animals
- fuel for machinery and generators
During this disaster, it was estimated that out of approximately 21,000 head of cattle, 1200 died and over 6,000 became sick.
Not only ice storms wreak havoc, but also droughts, wildfires and
hurricanes wreaked havoc across the nation in 1998 and 1999. The drought in Texas caused an enormous lack of feed for livestock. This forced the ranchers to sell almost 30% more of their herds than previous years.
Wildfires are not normally thought of as a disaster, but they are still
devastating. The wildfires in Florida burned 500,000 acres and the devastating losses included 140 million in crops/pasture and 44 million losses in the livestock industry.
During the disaster of Hurricane Floyd cost North Carolina producers almost 65 million including 28,000 hogs and 2 million chickens/turkeys all drowned from the floodwaters during the hurricane.
Disasters cannot be prevented; however, the losses to families, farmers and ranchers can be minimized with planning and emergency preparedness ahead of time. Make sure to have
the basic emergency preparedness steps down at all times and see the emergency preparedness and disaster preparedness pages for additional tips and ideas: