As Hurricane Irene continues her destructive path toward the U.S., farmers on the East Coast brace themselves for the worst.
Irene reached the Carolinas in full force today; however, pelting rains and heavy winds have been reported on those states' shores since Friday. As the hurricane makes its way up the coast this weekend, farmers from South Carolina to Maine are preparing both their farms and their minds for the damage that their crops are likely to endure in the next 72 hours.
"We all are just praying and hoping that when it’s done, all the tobacco, cotton, sweet potatoes, corn and soybeans are still standing," a farmer in eastern North Carolina, told us on Facebook.
He says that the season as a whole has been dry, but the past month his area received adequate rainfall and the crop was looking decent. Now he fears that it won’t be standing when all is said and done.
Farmers like him aren’t the only ones concerned. Livestock producers up and down the Atlantic Seaboard are taking necessary precautions as well. The USDA offers these tips for livestock producers faced with preparing for the storm.
- Make sure barns and structures where livestock can be sheltered are in good repair. If more space is needed for your stock, make arrangements for the use of other sheltering facilities in close proximity to your facilities.
- Calculate the feed and water requirements to maintain livestock and poultry during an emergency.
- Make preparations for protecting feed and water supplies and providing emergency electrical power if necessary.
- If possible, cover feed and forage stored outdoors with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Routinely cover open water supplies, such as troughs and stock tanks.
For more information and advice on storm preparedness, check out USDA’s website and this resource from Penn State University: ReadyAG: Disaster and Defense Preparedness for Production Agriculture