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Agriculture Has Steps Farmers Can Use To Reduce Their Losses In A Hurricane

FREDERIKSTED — The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) is asking livestock farmers to prepare now to reduce disaster-related losses to their farms in the face of hurricane season.

“Building on lessons learned from the hurricanes of 2017, it is critical that farmers take precautions now for the 2020 hurricane season today,” Commissioner Terrence Nelson said. “Virgin Islands farmers are resilient, yet it takes planning and preparedness in order to protect animals and property.”

To ensure safety, VIDA is recommending the following:

  • Update records of livestock tag numbers, census, and equipment inventories
  • Trim trees away from fences
  • Stock up on feed, and store it in sturdy, watertight containers
  • Provide adequate drainage for storm water to drain away from pens and roadways
  • Store antiseptic sprays like iodine and hydrogen peroxide for potential wounds
  • Make sure livestock are current on tetanus vaccinations
  • Keep all water containers full to ensure water will be available after a storm
  • Use hurricane clips to reinforce barns, sheds, and roofs
  • Purchase fencing supplies now to have on hand for repairs
  • Identify farm dogs with a collar, telephone number, and address

As a reminder, in the event of a storm, allow animals access to pasture or open areas. Do not confine or tie animals during the storm because they can get trapped, injured, or killed in the event of building collapse or flooding. As soon as it is safe to do so, farmers and horse owners should retrieve animals and return them to their property.

VIDA’s Division of Veterinary Services assists farmers every day to protect the health of their livestock, the public health, and the food supply.

The services are available to assist farmers to meet these recommendations and to help with other livestock health concerns.

For more information on preparing for hurricanes and floods contact VIDA’s Division of Veterinary Services at 340-642-7320 on St. Croix, 340-774-5182 on St. Thomas, and 340-423-9022 on St. John.

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