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Review Disaster Preparedness Plans Now

March 4, 2020

Jim Dickrell

The devastating and fatal tornadoes that raked Tennessee this week are a poignant reminder that you should review your disaster preparedness plans now before you get busy with spring field work.

Here are five items on your to-do list, says Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association:

Review insurance policies at least annually, if not more often.

Evaluate replacement cost of buildings and property.Consider business income loss exposure and determine if a business interruption rider is appropriate for your operation. While these riders can be expensive, they may tide you over while your operation recovers from a disaster. It can take months for cows to recover milk production—and sometimes they don’t until the next lactation.Consider extra expense exposure if a disaster occurs. In other words, does your current policy cover things like Porta-potties that you might need to bring in for workers as you clean-up and rebuild?Consider debris removal exposure.Consider equipment breakdown coverage. This insurance can cover equipment replacement not only for storm damage but major breakdowns of field equipment.Invite your local fire department out for a tour so firefighters understand the layout of your facility. While there, they can help you plan a Fire Route for bringing in emergency equipment and supplemental water.Take or update pictures or video of your buildings to help document inventories and replacement.Have a back-up plan for moving livestock offsite if needed.Update your call-list in the event of a catastrophe. Include contractors, electricians, excavators, equipment suppliers, milk haulers, local Officials and the Sheriff’s office, and your power/utility company.

Also make sure you update your cattle inventory annually, notes Ryan Brunn, Stearns County, Minn., Farm Service Agency (FSA) executive director. These inventories should include the number, kind and weight range of cattle. For dairy, this should include adult cows and bulls, and the number of calves less than 250 pounds, 250 to 399 pounds, 400 to 799 pounds, and heifers 800 pounds or more. Steers should be recorded in the same weight ranges.

This inventory is critical because the United States Department of Agriculture pays indemnity rates based on these weight ranges.

Brunn also notes that Notice of Loss must be filed with your FSA office within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent.  Application for payment must be filed within 60 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the eligible loss occurred.

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