Interim Agriculture Commissioner Advises Farmers To Prepare For Storm
Posted September 16, 2003 10:15 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Interim Agriculture Commissioner Britt Cobb has advised farmers, particularly in the Eastern part of the state, to take necessary steps to prepare for potential damage from Hurricane Isabel.
"At this point, we do not know with certainty where Hurricane Isabel will strike," Cobb said. "But there are general emergency preparations every farmer can take in the event of damaging weather. The
Department of Agriculture
is gearing up its emergency response plans in order to ensure that we are able to provide critical services in the event Hurricane Isabel does make landfall."
Farmers have been busy trying to harvest what they can from their fields. But Cobb said they also need to make preparations for their families, equipment and buildings and have backup plans for electricity for their curing barns and other critical farm facilities.
In addition, livestock operations are being encouraged to begin implementing their specific emergency plans, securing backup generators and assessing their on-site feed capabilities.
"The need for generators is always high when a storm strikes," Cobb said. "We encourage farmers to contact local farm suppliers and rental companies in advance to reserve a generator on their own in the event of power outages. There are no guarantees that state-owned generators will be available for farmers and livestock owners."
Farmers are reminded that a properly-installed transfer switch is critical to hooking up a generator in order to protect farm facilities and utility workers. Growers should have a transfer switch installed in the event they need backup power.
Farmers are also encouraged to add the phone number of their county emergency management office to their list of important numbers. County emergency management offices will be coordinating emergency crop and livestock assistance, including requests for generators.
Other general emergency farm measures recommended by Cobb include:
In addition, pesticide applicators, particularly in Eastern North Carolina should look to secure their pesticide storage areas. Applicators in low-lying areas should do whatever they can to elevate or move pesticides to locations that are less likely to flood.
Structural Pest Control Division
is also advising pest control companies that termite control applications, especially pre-treats of slab structures, should not be performed less than 24 hours before torrential rains. Termiticides need time to bond with the soil before getting wet.
In the event of a hurricane strike and power outages, inspectors with the NCDA&CS
Food and Drug Protection Division
Veterinary Division's Meat and Poultry Inspection Service
will inspect food vendors and grocery and retail stores in affected areas to ensure food safety.
If shelters are set up, the
Food Distribution Division
will assist with the transportation of food and supplies to shelters if needed.