Is your farm or ranch prepared if disaster strikes? Learn how to prep for emergencies.

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In the 1980s, G.I. Joe: Real American Hero animated TV series concluded each cartoon episode with a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for children: “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!” 

Emergency preparedness and disaster management for a farm, ranch, or ag business follows that same mantra. If you know how to prepare, respond, and recover from an animal disease incursion or a natural disaster like flooding or wildfire, then you just need to follow your plan and act accordingly. 

The new emergency management program at the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has a mission to support all agriculture communities across the state in blue skies (to prepare) and in gray skies (responding to trouble). 

Our country’s National Preparedness Goal is to have “a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” CDA wants to help you with all of these. 

The best planning and preparedness resource we have found to meet the needs of Colorado’s agricultural communities is the All-Hazards Preparedness for Rural Communities booklet at

An additional high-level overview of disaster relief and recovery funding that may be able to help Colorado agriculture is CDA’s recent webinar, which includes discussion with experts from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Colorado State University (CSU), and other state and federal agencies. 

To help in documenting losses sustained during a disaster, an essential preparation key according to CropTracker, is to ensure good record keeping.

Here are some top tips:

  • Paper records are effective, but can be lost during an emergency and are hard to analyze. Converting to digital records can help you securely access data from multiple locations. 
  • Key records to keep: 
    • Livestock: Inventory of animals (including ages and classes), calving dates and gender, animal health records, feed inventory, veterinarian costs
    • Farms: planting, harvest and yield records, input records, fertilizer costs
    • General: Insurance, banking and loan information, purchase receipts, labor tracking, business transactions, fuel costs, real estate and rental information, equipment costs

Reviewing preparedness and relief/recovery resources will provide you with helpful, relevant information so that you know how and what to plan for and what assistance is available when disasters strike.

As GI Joe might say, “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” CDA will do its best to make sure agricultural communities have the resources for proactive, accurate, and collaborative emergency preparation. 

Need ag emergency planning help? Contact Dan Frazen, CDA's Ag Emergency Coordinator, for any questions or more information. 

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