Cautions and advice for farmers in flood-prone areas

Utah’s Director of Agricultural Homeland Security, Dr. Chris Crnich, is warning that livestock owners in this spring’s flood prone areas of the state take sufficient precautions to protect livestock, farm buildings and other agriculture assets. “Flooding can happen almost instantaneously if a stream is clogged or if there is a high incidence of heat or rain. You really need to be cautious around streams,” said Crnich. “We sometimes forget, just going back and forth to our fields, those little streamlets and bridges that we cross to get there to maintain the health of our livestock, to feed and water them. “We need to prepare to make sure that access is available. Sometimes that might mean moving livestock to different pastures so that access won’t be restricted in times of potential flooding.” He said floodwater flowing onto farmlands exposes livestock to possible parasitic infection. “And you don’t know what else might be coming down with those flood waters, possibly hazardous chemicals or other materials you wouldn’t want to affect your livestock.” Crnich said because the livestock industry is very “transportable” maintaining access to get feed supplies and other product delivery to animals is critical. “What if one of your bridges or culverts gets washed out, requiring anywhere from days to weeks getting it replaced? Do you have ways to get to your pastures, are there other access points, can you go around?” He advises planning for the worst possible scenario affecting your farm, and then creating a mitigation plan that would alleviate that disaster.

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