Farms and Agriculture
Risks and Emergency Plans
Farms and agriculture face unique risks, and like any business the farm manager must understand the risks they are exposed to. Hail, excessive rain, drought, spring frost, flood, and even a distant wildfire can damage crops and put livestock at risk. Farms that create farm assets maps and come up with predefined strategies on how they will deal with disruptive events can fare much better both during and after a stressful event. Our page on business risks lists many other threats, but the following information and external resources is relevant to farms and agriculture.
Wildfire Smoke Risks
Farmers know wildfire smoke can put workers and livestock at risk, but the impact on crops is not as well known as we have never experienced such large and destructive wildfires. The impact of smoke depends on many variables including the type and amount of smoke. For example, wood and grass smoke contain different particles then plastics and building materials.
Toxic chemicals can destroy chlorophyll, thick smoke can block sunlight and slow photosynthesis, and smoke particles on leaves can clog the stomata pores that take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Even healthy looking crops can be destroyed. Much like a campfire permeates hair and clothing, wildfire smoke can cause “smoke taint” and make grapes unusable in wine production. You can view interactive wildfire, smoke, and flood maps under resources on our For Everyone page
Map Farm Assets
Create an operational map of your farm assets to aid emergency responders in the event of wildfire or flooding. Show the location of roads, fences and gates, buildings, response equipment, water pumps and water sources including ponds, livestock inventories, emergency shut-off for utilities, machinery, hazardous materials such as fuel, pesticides and fertilizers, generators, and other information that can help a first responder.
You will also need a communications and evacuation plan that lists emergency contacts including family, farm workers, your vet, potential sites to relocate animals, and other relevant information. Provide your family and workers with your emergency plan, and if you must evacuate make sure your map can easily be found by emergency responders. You may wish to place a copy of your map in your mailbox.
Action Plan Resources
The Province of British Columbia Emergency response planning page offers industry-specific guides and templates to help farms assess and reduce risks, and to create a custom tailored emergency preparedness plan.
Crop insurance may be available from your insurer, or visit the Production Insurance page on the Government of BC website. The Province’s Emergency management for agriculture page offers additional information on insurance, as well as animal disease, wildfire, freshet and flood, and animal relocation.