Fire, flood, tornado, hurricane — what would you do if such disaster struck your farm? John Nagle, livestock program manager for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, says it’s not only important to know the answer to that question, but to have it in writing.

The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true when it comes to planning for an emergency on your farm, according to Nagle.

“Seconds count when it comes to saving lives, animals, and property and having that plan ready ahead of time can make a big difference,” Nagle says. “It’s something you hope you never have to use, but when you do, things usually happen so fast that if you don't have it planned out ahead, mistakes can be made which can cause dollars, animal lives, or even human lives.  To be able to sit down and think about and plan ahead is extremely important for any operation.”

He says it’s important to make sure everyone on the operation is kept abreast of the plan (or at least knows where to find it). After all, if it’s all in one guy’s head and that guy is injured in the emergency or unable to get to the farm, his family members or employees won’t know what to do.

“The more people who have an understanding of what needs to be done and who can take charge, the better outcome you will have,” Nagle says.

The emergency plan should include:

  • Emergency contact list, including cell phone numbers
  • Safe meeting place (in case of evacuation)
  • Location of all resources and equipment that might be needed (fire extinguishers, shovels, etc.)
  • Location of hazardous goods
  • Farm map
  • ... and anything else relevant to your operation

Download emergency plan template for your farm.