Pa. AG Secretary Urges Farmers, Consumers to Prepare for Katrina’s Impact

August 30, 2005

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff has encouraged farmers, particularly in Western Pennsylvania, to begin preparing for the potential of heavy rains and flooding related to what was once Hurricane Katrina.

“Forecasters are predicting heavy rains and possible flooding for parts of Pennsylvania later this week,” said Wolff. “Now is the time to prepare your property and safeguard your animals and crops as best as possible. Taking precautions now can help minimize losses to your operations and speed your recovery after the flooding.”

Wolff offered the following preparedness tips:

Farm Operations:
— Relocate livestock and animals from low-lying flood prone areas.
— Move machinery, feed, grain, pesticides, herbicides, round forage bales
and nursery stock to higher elevation.
— Double check manure storage area to ensure there is sufficient
— Check to ensure there is adequate water and feed stored for
— Ensure that generators have fuel and are in good repair for livestock
and dairy operations.
— Disconnect electric power to all buildings that may flood.

Food Safety:
— Do not consume the following if they came in contact with floodwaters:
unwrapped foods, crown-capped bottles, screw-top glass containers,
flip top cans, packaged foods that are not airtight or that cannot be
— Food in the refrigerator is safe until the temperature rises above 45
degrees Fahrenheit. Discard any food after six hours without power.
— When in doubt, throw it out.

Those dealing with flood-related crop damage should note the following:

— If participating in a federally sponsored crop insurance plan, you must
notify an agent within 72 hours of discovery of crop damage.
— All residue and crop damage should be left intact until insurance
agents can properly assess extent of damage.
— Individuals may contact Eugene Gantz, risk management specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at (717) 497-6398 if there are
questions pertaining to crop insurance in Pennsylvania.

In addition, Wolff advised pet owners to ensure their pet’s safety as well. In advance of an emergency, pet owners should choose a boarding kennel or pet shelter willing to take pets in an emergency. Pennsylvania’s State Animal Response Team (PSART) facilitates a rapid, coordinated and effective response for any emergency that would affect animals, including floods.

Citizens and farmers should contact their county 911 offices for notification of PSART teams. Visit for more information.

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