The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDOA) reminds livestock farmers to quickly prepare to reduce disaster-related loss and damage to their farms in the face of hurricane season. “Building on lessons learned from the hurricanes of 2017, it is critical that farmers take precautions now for the 2020 hurricane season today,” Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson said. “Virgin Islands farmers are resilient, yet it takes planning and preparedness in order to protect animals and property.”
To ensure safety, the Department of Agriculture is recommending the following:
- Update records of livestock tag numbers, census and equipment inventories
- Trim trees away from fences
- Stock up on feed; store it in sturdy, watertight containers
- Provide adequate drainage for stormwater to drain away from pens and roadways
- Store antiseptic sprays like iodine and hydrogen peroxide for potential wounds
- Make sure livestock are current on tetanus vaccinations
- Keep all water containers full to ensure water will be available after a storm
- Use hurricane clips to reinforce barns, sheds and roofs
- Purchase fencing supplies now to have on hand for repairs
- Identify farm dogs with a collar, telephone number and address
As a reminder, in the event of a storm, allow animals access to pasture or open areas. Do not confine or tie animals during the storm because they can get trapped, injured or killed in the event of building collapse or flooding. As soon as it is safe to do so, farmers and horse owners should retrieve animals and return them to their property.
DOA’s Division of Veterinary Services assists farmers every day to protect the health of their livestock, the public health and the food supply. They are available to assist farmers to meet these recommendations and to help with other livestock health concerns.
For more information on preparing for hurricanes and floods, contact DOA’s Division of Veterinary Services at 642-7320 on St. Croix, 774-5182 on St. Thomas or 423-9022 on St. John.