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Get help developing an emergency plan for your farm

All farms, regardless of size or type, are vulnerable to disaster, whether it's from the weather, fire, flooding or terrorism. Like other business owners, farmers should have plans in place that address what to do when disaster strikes.

"Producers have a lot of money invested in their animals, crops and facilities," says Mark Hansen, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension emergency management coordinator. "Therefore, they need to think about the threats that could put them out of business."

Once producers have evaluated those threats, it's simply a matter of taking steps to protect the operation.

"Probably the most important thing in developing an emergency plan for the agricultural operation is to include the family and employees in the process," Hansen says. "By helping to develop the plan, the other family members and employees take more ownership in making the plan work and in helping think of ways to protect the business. After all, everyone is affected if an emergency or disaster causes a disruption in operations, even if it's only for a week or two."

A farm emergency plan contains emergency contact information, farmstead and aerial maps, and information for handling fertilizer, pesticide and manure spills, fires, and other emergency or suspicious activities. Firefighters, rescue teams and other responders use the plan to determine quickly if any farmstead hazard exists that may deter rescues or endanger human lives.

Every farmer is encouraged to maintain an up-to-date inventory of stored products -- pesticides, fertilizers and farm flammables -- and their storage locations, along with a list of emergency equipment and supplies on the farm and nearby.

Download newly updated MSU Extension and Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program bulletins:

All farms, regardless of size or type, are vulnerable to disaster, whether it's from the weather, fire, flooding or terrorism. Like other business owners, farmers should have plans in place that address what to do when disaster strikes.

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