State Agriculture Officials Urge Farmers and Pet Owners to Continue Precautionary Measures as Ice Storm-Related Issues Continue

The weather forecast indicates that temperatures will remain low throughout the week, thereby not allowing the ice to melt, and winds may increase, causing power lines to be damaged. The Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets recommends that farmers who live in a region of the state where icing occurred keep a close eye on weather reports, and take the following steps:

•        Prepare to be without power for several days. A backup generator with sufficient fuel to run it should be in place prior to the beginning of the storm.  Make sure your house or barn has been wired such that a generator could be connected and that you have a transfer switch or other isolated means to connect to the generator.  If you do not have a generator, your first contact should be your town emergency manager.  The Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets does not have generators.

·         Avoid injuries from slips and falls by applying sand or gravel to walkways and potentially slippery areas that livestock or pets travel to reach food, water, and shelter.

•        Charge batteries on cell phones and cameras.  

•        Pump and store adequate supplies of drinking water for humans and animals in the likelihood of power outages.

•        Roads may be dangerous to use due to ice or impassable from downed trees or power lines which would delay any planned deliveries such as feed, so plan accordingly. 

•        If milk trucks are unable to reach farms, dairy farmers may exceed their holding capacity for stored milk.  If this is the case be prepared to dispose of your excess milk in a suitable location.  Make sure to record the volume of milk.

•        The weight of ice on trees and branches may cause them to break off and fall onto buildings and equipment. Take steps in advance to mitigate the impact, if possible. 

•        Make sure that you have enough pet food, necessary medications, and other supplies. The Agency of Agriculture recommends having at least a week’s worth of stock on hand in order to be covered during prolonged power outages.

•        Bring your pet inside in advance of the storm or otherwise house the pet in a safe manner out of harm’s way.

•        If it is safe to do so, shovel the snow off of barn and house roofs.  If you cannot safely shovel your roof, contact a professional.  The weight of ice or rain added to the weight of the snow currently on roofs may exceed the capacity of the structure and lead to a roof collapse.

•        Farmers are urged to make preparations necessary to be self-sufficient for up to a week including having enough feed and water for livestock and moving them to a safe location if necessary.

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About the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets: VAAFM facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment.  www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov