Develop an Emergency Plan for your Farm or Ranch

From severe weather to unexpected accidents, disaster can strike at any time. Having a plan in place for your farm or ranch during an emergency can help ensure your livelihood is protected, no matter the size of your operation. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’ve addressed the basics for your emergency preparedness plan.

Implement Emergency Routes and Farm Information

An escape plan is necessary to inform workers about how to evacuate the area, what the designated meeting place is and how to account for all people. It is also important to create and keep up-to-date a comprehensive map of the property that shows the locations of buildings, hazardous materials, large machinery, animal pens, electric sources, etc. You’ll want to have a way to receive emergency alerts and warnings in case of inclement weather or natural disasters. 

Create Call Lists

Create a call list that includes all emergency phone numbers. Include employees, neighboring farmers/ranchers, family members, veterinarians, local police/fire/EMT, and food/water resource providers for animals. Keep it posted and in your phone so you can use it in a moment’s notice. Ensure employees also have a copy of the list.  

Have an Evacuation Plan

It’s important to have an evacuation plan for livestock in the event of severe storms, floods or fires on the property. When moving livestock, make sure to plan for enough time to transport. Include food/water provisions for relocating large animals – you’ll want to aim for about a week’s supply of provisions to start with. If your animals will be sharing space with livestock from other farms or ranches, be sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations and are easily identifiable from other animals.

Create a Farm Safety Kit

A farm safety kit can be a huge help during an emergency. This is especially helpful if you or your workers are caught where it may take emergency responders longer to reach. In the kit, be sure to include the emergency call list (mentioned above), bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, cold packs and heating packs, bottles of water, snacks, flashlights, work gloves, protective eyewear, etc. Create and place several of these kits at various buildings/stations across the property. Be sure to clearly note the safety kit locations on the farm map, mentioned above. 

After outlining these key items, inform everyone who may be involved or impacted by the plans. Employees and family members should be aware of what they need to do in the case of an emergency. They also need the necessary items to act in a moment’s notice. Ensure your farm or ranch has protection it needs with a Farm & Ranch Insurance policy. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need.

New Year Annual Insurance Review

As you kick off the new year, one resolution should be to ensure you have the proper insurance protection for the year ahead. Policyholders often treat insurance as something to simply check off and forget about. However, your policies are more valuable than that.

Your policies are protecting you through miles on the road, unpredictable tornado seasons and all of life’s ups and downs. They require updates regularly to adapt to the changes in your life. What better time for this than at the beginning of the year? An annual insurance review will help ensure your policies are up-to-date and provide the protection you need. It can also uncover discounts that you may be eligible for. 

Check out this list of common changes that could require an adjustment to any one of your insurance policies. Talk to your agent to schedule your annual insurance review today: 

  1. You may need to update your Auto policy if you’re driving significantly more or less than you were in previous years, if your vehicle is aging or if you have passed it down to a child.
  2. Consider updating your Home policy if you added high dollar personal property to your home inventory, if you installed a pool, if you completed home improvements or added on to your home size.  
  3. You may need to update your Life policy if you added or lost members of your family recently, if you experienced changes in your health, if you changed jobs or your family’s cost of living increased or decreased. 
  4. Consider updating your Farm & Ranch policy if you expanded operations or added new equipment, if you’re using certain machinery or vehicles more often than usual or if you’ve increased your livestock inventory.

If something has changed in your life over the past year that isn’t reflected in your current policies, talk to your OKFB agent today to schedule an annual insurance review. Life changes fast, this annual review will help make sure your insurance keeps up. 

Road Safety with Farm Equipment

Harvest season is here, which likely means an increase in farm equipment on the roads. Whether you’re driving a tractor or sharing the road with one, it’s important to know how to safely navigate with and around various farm equipment and vehicles. Follow these safety tips to help prevent accidents on the road this season. 

Safety for farmers and ranchers

  1. Make sure all your lights and flashers work properly before getting on the road. Doing so will allow you to use the necessary warning lights and slow-moving vehicle signs when driving your equipment. This is important because it helps other motorists see you down the road so they can slow down and use caution when approaching. 
  2. Be mindful of your equipment — ensure everything is strapped in and balanced, and know the height and width of your equipment to avoid disrupting low-hanging power lines and other hazards that may be near the road. 
  3. When possible, avoid well-traveled roads during high-traffic and don’t travel before dawn or after dusk. 
  4. Use your signals to communicate with other drivers, and always take precautions when traveling on gravel shoulders or narrow bridges. 
  5. Lastly, obey all the normal traffic laws. 

Safety for other drivers

  1. Be aware of slow-moving vehicles. Farm equipment must travel much slower than the average vehicle — between five and 15 miles per hour. 
  2. Watch for signals coming from operators of farm equipment. They may communicate with you about when it is safe to pass, so it’s important to pay attention to their signals. 
  3. Tractors and other farm vehicles need lots of room to operate. They take wider turns and might have to use both lanes to complete a proper turn. To help accommodate this equipment, make sure to give it plenty of room. 
  4. Don’t abruptly pull in front of farm equipment and then slow down suddenly. It’s much more difficult for the large, heavy equipment to slow down quickly. 
  5. Always pay close attention when sharing the road with farm equipment. Avoid any distractions and be attentive. 

Whatever you’re driving this season, OKFB can provide the right coverage for your vehicle. Check out our auto policy lineup to find customizable coverage that fits your lifestyle. And, while you’re at it, take a look at our farm and ranch line, too. 

If you’re not sure where to start, try out our new instant auto quote form. It’s a quick, easy process to get you on your way to the coverage you need. 

Farm Safety Tips

You know operating a farm or a ranch can be a risky occupation. And, when it comes to protecting your life’s work, your loved ones and yourself, you also know safety should be a top priority. One of the key ways to help keep those risks at bay is through preventative safety measures. We hope you will keep these farm and ranch safety tips in mind all year long.

Tractor Safety

Tractors are one of the most heavily used pieces of equipment on a farm or ranch, so it is important to know how to operate this machinery safely. When operating a tractor, remember to securely fasten your seat belt, limit one rider per seat, avoid ditches and steep embankments, and reduce speed when turning, crossing slopes and on questionable surfaces.

Travel Safety

At some point, you’ll likely have to drive a tractor or other farm machinery on public roadways to get the job done. When this time comes, make sure you are prepared to travel down the road safely. Display your slow moving vehicle sign on your machine, ensure reflective tape is showing, set your lights to flash as hazards and practice heightened awareness of the vehicles behind, beside or in front of you.

Clothing Safety

You should always wear the appropriate clothing and safety gear for each job. If using chemicals, consider proper gloves, respirators and protective clothing. If you are working with large farm equipment, consider hearing protection, eye protection and steel-toed shoes.

Keep Kids Safe

Take time to talk with your children about the dangers of farm equipment and share safety rules and procedures with them. You should also take proactive steps to limit any ways a child could get to this equipment, such as locking barns, putting up ladders, removing the keys, etc. Finally, make sure you always know where children are before taking out machinery.

How OKFB Can Help

Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Safety Services Division offers free programs focused on teaching farm safety, fire safety and a number of other topics. Learn more about these programs, or request one for your community by visiting OKFB’s Safety Services Division.