With the possibility of Hurricane Matthew hitting the North Carolina coast this weekend, hog farmers are proactively taking steps to adequately protect workers, animals and the environment. Depending on the storm’s path, it could bring heavy rains and strong winds with the potential to down trees, knock out power and damage buildings.
“Our farmers have faced several strong hurricanes in the past. They know what to expect and understand the importance of being prepared ahead of time,” said Deborah Johnson, CEO of the N.C. Pork Council. “Farmers are putting emergency action plans into effect to protect their employees, their animals and farms.”
Hog farmers are taking several specific steps to deal with potential problems:
• To prepare for potential power outages, farmers have tested on-farm generators to ensure they are in proper working order and secured adequate fuel to power those generators and other vital operational equipment.
• In case deliveries are interrupted by the storm, feed bins will be well stocked and provisions made for other essentials necessary for the well-being of their animals.
• To prepare for heavy rains, farmers are monitoring animal waste management systems and applying fertilizer to dry cropland in accordance with approved nutrient management plans. Farmers carefully manage lagoons throughout the year to maintain adequate storage to accommodate heavy rains.
“Our top priority is keeping our farmers and our animals safe,” Johnson said. “No one is quite sure what to expect from Hurricane Matthew, but everyone is working together and doing everything they can to prepare for the storm in advance. Once the storm passes, we’ll assess any damage that occurred and be ready to respond quickly.”
Farmers are encouraged to contact the N.C. Pork Council or a regional office of the N.C. Division of Water Resources if they need advice about issues related to their specific operations.