As we brace for potential impact from Hurricane Dorian, it is important that farmers and ranchers are prepared. The next few days are the perfect opportunity to ensure that your operation and your family are prepared for damages that may occur.
Before the Storm:
Follow best management practices to mitigate damage as much as possible. Take video or photographs before the storm of your operation including trees and fruit if applicable.
Backup copies of your records by keeping a copy in hand readily available or having a secured copy of the document on your computer. If adjusters are unable to determine total production, they may need past production records to help make a determination.
Have a list of important contacts readily available. This includes employees and their families, veterinarians, your Farm Credit of Central Florida loan officer or crop insurance specialist, and the local farm service agency.
Stock up on supplies for during and immediately after the storm. Have plenty of flashlights, batteries, lanterns, feed, hay, and/or other supplements. Keep in mind that if power is out, farm and feed stores may not be open. Having enough supplies to keep operations going or take care of livestock for a week after the storm is important.
Make sure materials and equipment are in working order. From generators to chainsaws, to fences, make sure that your property and your equipment is in stock and properly maintained. If possible, have on hand extra fuel and fence repair materials as well.
Jonathan Crane, professor and tropical fruit specialist recommends proper pruning of trees to limit chances of damage and uprooting. He also recommends being properly equipped to tackle potential damage.
Be familiar with your crop insurance policy and ask your loan officer or our crop insurance specialist, Regina Thomas, any questions you might have regarding your policy and coverage.
If you are evacuating, have a plan in place. Let employees and neighbors know your plans and follow news and regulations offered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regarding transport of livestock or agricultural materials.
During the Storm:
Safety is key. Whether you are evacuated or staying at home, follow adequate procedures and follow updates from weather and emergency officials.
After the Storm:
Notify your crop insurance agent within 72 hours (3 days) of your initial discovery of damage. Losses may be reported by phone or in person to your Farm Credit of Central Florida crop insurance agent, however, it must be in writing within 15 days by email or letter.
Please note- you must obtain insurance companies’ written consent prior to: destroying, selling or otherwise disposing of any fruit, trees, bushes, or plants that are damaged; or changing or discontinuing your normal growing practices with respect to care and maintenance of operation; or abandoning any portion of the insured crop. In order for your claim to be settled as soon as possible, cooperate with the adjuster by showing them the damaged crop, allowing samples of the insured crop to be taken, and providing the adjuster with all requested documents in a timely manner.
Check on family, friends, employees, and neighbors. Reach out to Farm Credit of Central Florida if we can assist you in any way post-storm.