Reducing the incidence and impact of disasters on family farms
As a nation we depend on farms to produce a constant supply of safe, nutritious food. New York’s agriculture is a significant contributor to our economy, national and international trade, and cultural identity.
Family farms in New York are often exposed to disasters like roadway accidents involving farm equipment, barn fires, the devastating effects of severe weather, criminal or terrorism activities, and livestock disease outbreaks. The financial costs of disasters and recovery are high, the emotional toll can be huge, and the threat to our food system is unthinkable.
One proven way to reduce the impact of disasters is through education, stressing steps to improve disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery. However, on most family farms, these preventative measures are often a low priority due to the high demands of farm life.
The Farm Disaster Preparation Certificate course will help farm owners become better prepared for everyday or even larger farm disasters. At Cornell Cooperative Extension, we use this class to encourage farm owners to actively adopt planning and real-life preparedness actions and habits.
This 6-hour class covers the most common real-life disasters experienced by family farms, such as minimizing storm damage, coping with long power outages, maintaining continuity of farm operations during a community disaster, reducing criminal / potential terrorism activity, enhancing livestock biosecurity, preventing farm fire or collapse disasters, and managing farm equipment on crowded public roads.
After completing the program, participating farms should be able to withstand a farm emergency with a higher level of resiliency. It is all part of maintaining a safe and secure food supply for our communities and markets. Increasing farm family readiness for large or small disasters will reduce disaster response costs and result in fewer private disaster insurance claims among participating farms.
The “hook” for the class is a potential farm insurance discount incentive. Farms that complete the training program will receive a dated certificate to provide to their insurance carrier. This increases the farm’s eligibility for receiving a policy credit or even an actual discount on the farm’s annual insurance premium.