Beef producers urged to prep for emergencies, animal deaths

Beef producers urged to prep for emergencies, animal deaths

Livestock emergency plans have potential to control losses of cattle in blizzard or high heat situations

Having a plan for avoiding large livestock losses in emergency situations is critical, Kansas State livestock specialist Joel DeRouchey told USDA's Gary Crawford last week.

"There's a lot of what-ifs in terms of time of year, type of situation – whether it's weather or mechanical or disease-driven – that could happen," he says.

Having not only an avoidance plan but also a clean-up plan is a good idea, he said. Especially when suddenly hit with a large number of animal fatalities without a plan for disposing of them, producers can be overwhelmed, DeRouchey said.

Livestock emergency plans have potential to control losses of cattle in blizzard or high heat situations

"Having something written down that can be clearly communicated is a big key that producers can have themselves but we also recognize that many producers don't currently have that in place," he said.

DeRouchey recently participated in a workshop focused on emergency preparedness on the farm with a host of other animal and waste management specialists.

At the workshop, specialists said plans should include having an approved pre-selected disposal site, documentation about every aspect of the livestock operation including insurance numbers, phone numbers for emergency personnel and local emergency management services, and complete inventory records on the number of livestock as well as the age of livestock, equipment, buildings and feed.

For more information about the workshop and ideas for preparedness, check out Kansas Farmers Union's recap. Also, listen to full USDA audio.

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