Depending on if you are a crop farmer, livestock farmer, or both, you will need to prepare for the winter months ahead. Typically, the average temperature in Iowa during the winter is 14 degrees F. There are items you can add to your to-do list now to make your winter stress-free. 

Review Your Insurance

If you have crops or livestock, it is important to review your insurance policies before the harsh winter months to see what is and is not covered. This includes not only the insurance on crops and livestock, but also on your out-buildings and equipment. Reviewing this now could save you from a headache in the bitter cold of January.

Clean Up 

Items around your farm that may go overlooked can become dangerous hazards for humans and animals once ice and snow hides or freezes them. For example, that tire laying in the grass outside your barn may seem fine now, but it could turn into a tripping hazard for you and your loved ones. Clear away debris from high-traffic areas to ensure safe travels around your land. 

 

Create a Plan 

With winter comes snow, freezing temperatures, and sleet. All of these can contribute to power outages, and in rural areas these can last a long time. To prepare for this situation, create a plan with your family and prepare supplies. According to Ag America, you should have, “supplies including drinking water, medications, food, a can opener, first-aid kit, battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, and a portable generator.” Even if you think you have these items around your property, consider placing them in one area that everyone in the family can access. 

Prepare Your Livestock 

Livestock farmers need to consider proper shelter, food, and water for their animals in the winter months. Create a shelter with windbreak and adequate bedding to withstand the freezing temperatures. Eating more in the winter is not just for those of us hunkered down at home, according to Dairy Herd, “As the weather cools down, animals’ nutrition requirements go up.” Prepare for this by keeping more feed on hand. Lastly, check any heated waterers you have to make sure they still work properly. 

Physically and Mentally Prepare Yourself 

Winter can be difficult for people both physically and mentally. To prepare yourself physically, check your personal winter gear as well as any family members who may help out on the farm. This may include layers, jackets, bibs, socks, boots, and more. To prepare yourself mentally, create routines with your family for the winter to cope with stress. Find fun activities for your family to do together while you wait out the cold weather. Some of the best memories can be made when the weather isn’t the best. 

Whether you are a crop or livestock farmer, you know weather and timing is everything. Help yourself out by adding some of these items to your list now to create a winter to remember–in a good way!

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