The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation says producers should have emergency plans in place before a tornado, fire or other disaster hits their farm.

That’s because while current operational procedures exist for local police, fire and emergency response teams, many of the individuals involved in these units may have little experience of knowledge of the workings of a farm. Farms may have equipment, building structures, livestock biosecurity measures, farm chemicals and fuels, power usage and generation, and other aspects of raising livestock and growing crops that require special attention by emergency responders.

To help, the organization has posted a farm emergency plan template on its Web site so you can make your own list of emergency contacts, family members and employees, a plan to meet away from the farm in an emergency, and a diagram of your operation.

The Farm Bureau recommends that you review and update this emergency list with your family and employees, and to have copies posted near telephones and shared with neighbors and emergency responders.

Items to include in your farm emergency plan:

  • List of family members, employees or neighbors who are familiar with your farm business.
  • List of emergency contacts.
  • Description of medical history or medical information of family members and employees.
  • Description of location of the farm and directions from nearest major intersection.
  • A general diagram of the farm that includes the location of chemical, fuels, livestock, equipment, overhead and buried utilities and so on.
  • Location of spare keys for vehicles or buildings.
  • Contact information of businesses providing services such as veterinarian, heavy equipment, electricity, livestock and milk hauling, insurance, financial, etc.
  • List of suppliers of chemicals, fertilizer, animal health products and so on.
  • Telephone grid to contact family members or employees.
  • Contact information of medical care provider.
  • Telephone grid of farmers to help provide livestock care, emergency feed and water, power or other services.
  • Description of location of important farm and personal documents.
  • Safe storage of farm and personal financial information in fireproof boxes or off-site safe deposit boxes.
  • Fireproof backup files of computer records. 
  • Off-site meeting location and contacts for family and employees to gather following a disaster to assess the situation and coordinate response.

Get more information on emergency planning from the American Red Cross:

To access a sample farm emergency plan that you can fill in with your farm’s information, go to:

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation