Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?


Have you seen the rumbling of Hurricane Beryl in the news? At this writing, it is expected to cross the Yucatan and be in the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend.

We take pride in this part of the world for being able to take care of ourselves when the weather turns foul.  We cranked up chainsaws and generators when trees were down and electricity was out for hurricanes Ike and Rita.  We checked in on our neighbors to make sure they were making it and they did the same for us. 

But be it another hurricane, a wildfire, a tornado, or whatever comes after Beryl, let’s talk about what to do to have livestock prepared for an emergency weather event.

The first step is to maintain your herd records. Knowing how many you’ve got and having them identified is crucial. Brands and ear tags go a long way to sort out co-mingled herds when the fences have been compromised.

Way ahead of any calamity, identify other locations where you could hold your herd if you get flooded, burned out, or have all the fences down. Visit with family, friends, or other stockmen that you have a relationship with to identify potential pastures or corrals to move to.

Be ready with extra fencing material to quickly repair fences. Does the chainsaw have an extra blade and plenty of fuel if needed to remove the trees from downed fences?

Do you have hay stored onsite that may be moved or used in place if pastures are not available for some reason?

It is an ugly truth, but there are some low-life folks that will take advantage of everyone being gone and equipment is more easily stolen. Take pictures of all your equipment. Even the implements that you’ve had for decades, they may no longer have any identifying marks to your operation. Put tractor keys in a secure location, away from any of those sorry kinds of people.

If you become stuck at a distant location, who are the neighbors, friends, or others that can be contacted to check on your place to confirm that the herd and equipment is located where it should be and is in good shape?

Consider writing down a timeline for how long a herd can exist in certain pastures and contrast that with what is an expected time frame before you can get back in. Recent flooding has removed cattle from the Angelina River above Sam Rayburn Reservoir for weeks.

Decide, ahead of a hurricane, where feed/hay and equipment can be staged in advance of an event. Also, determine how much time will be needed to stage all the plans you have made. When it comes time for you to evacuate, let’s have everything in line so that you can take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Lastly, stay informed. While there may be lots in the news for which you don’t care, but be sure to look at a couple of the weather apps on your phone or on the news. Doing this will keep us well ahead of whatever Beryl or those hurricanes that will follow it do.

The Angelina County Extension Office will be discussing these and other weather readiness tips at our Disaster Preparedness for Stockmen Meeting.  The class will be held on Tuesday, August 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the Angelina County AgriLife Extension Office – 2201 S. Medford Drive, in Lufkin, Texas.

Cary Sims
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

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