The impact of a natural disaster on a community always makes headlines. If you happen to be a livestock farmer, the impact on you seldom makes headlines, but it makes a big impact on you, your livestock and the viability of your operation.

"Many natural disasters give you little or no warning, but flooding is usually forecast, giving farmers time to think about contingency plans and take action," said Chuck Schwartau, a livestock educator with University of Minnesota Extension.

Questions for planning

Your specific plan of action will vary by the type of livestock operation, but there are many common questions to address if flooding is a possibility at your farmstead or livestock facility.

Schwartau recommends that you consider these questions for your livestock operation:

  • Where can I take livestock that is safe from floodwaters?
  • How will I move livestock?
  • Where will I secure enough trucks/trailers to move livestock in a timely fashion?
  • Who will be available to help? Might they have their own livestock to move?
  • Is there appropriate shelter and fencing at the temporary site?
  • Is there feed at the site or will I have to haul feed there?
  • How and when will I move feed?
  • How much feed will I need?
  • Do I need to move implements and feeding equipment?
  • Where will I access fuel for implements?
  • If my usual source of commercial feed is unable to deliver feed, what alternative sources do I have?
  • If I have to reduce feeding amounts to stretch the supply, how will I ration it out?
  • What about bedding material?
  • Is there adequate water on the site?
  • Are there adequate water fountains or tanks?
  • If I am able to stay in my home, will I be able to get to the livestock location?