The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) reminds livestock farmers to act swiftly 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 2021 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.”
VIDA recommends the following:
Update your records of livestock tag numbers, census and equipment inventories
Trim trees away from fences and straighten up fence posts
Stock up on feed, and store it in sturdy, watertight containers
Provide adequate drainage for storm water to drain away from pens and roadways
Stock up on antiseptic sprays, 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 and tie straps to reinforce barns, sheds and roofs
Purchase and store 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.
VIDA’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 VIDA’s Division of Veterinary Services at 642-7320 on St. Croix, 774-5182 on St. Thomas or 423-9022 on St. John.