Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey reminds farm families as they prepare for potential winter weather to have the resources on hand to be able to handle several days without power and closed roads. It is also important that they closely monitor the health and safety of their livestock during the winter storm.
The Des Moines National Weather Service office has issued a winter storm warning effective until 9 p.m. Tuesday December 8 and a blizzard warning from 9 p.m. Tuesday to 6 p.m. Wednesday December 9. The blizzard warning statement notes that drifts of 8 to 15 feet are possible overnight with the worst conditions just to the east of Des Moines.
"With the heavy snow and strong winds that are forecasted, it is important that farmers are taking the necessary precautions," emphasizes Northey. "Livestock producers in particular need to make sure they are able to continue caring for their animals in case roads are closed or they lose power for a few days."
- Livestock farmers can prepare for the storm by making sure generators are accessible, ready and in good working condition. Farmers are also urged to make sure livestock have plenty of feed and water and to have reserve supplies if needed.
- If livestock farmers need generators to power environmental controls and supply water for livestock they should contact the Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985.
- Farmers should also contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office to notify the office of storm related damage, livestock losses and any critical needs as soon as possible.
- All public safety related emergencies should still be directed to the county sheriff's office in your county.
"Farmers are experts in dealing with weather challenges, but planning ahead helps make sure you are able to deal with the unexpected," notes Northey.