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wheat field

Farm Preparedness


Business Continuity

Farm Preparedness

Farming is big business in the County of Oxford with about 87% of the total land base devoted to agriculture production. Oxford County farms were, on average, the second most productive in Ontario. In 2011, the agriculture industry was the fourth most important employer in the county. (Census 2011)

From barn fires to hazardous materials spills to natural disasters, emergency situations often call for special measures to shelter, care for, or transport farm pets, livestock, and poultry.

Safeguard your animals, your property and your business by taking precautions now, no matter what the risks are in your community.


ODRAP Assistance

Through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP), the provincial government may provide assistance to farmers who incur extraordinary costs as a result of an unforeseen natural disaster. Eligible costs generally include emergency living expenses, and cleanup costs.

  • Some eligible costs include
  • Uninsurable livestock
  • Crops already harvested and in storage
  • Damage to building structure, movables, working/operating farm equipment and inventory as a result of the disaster
  • Transportation/evacuation costs to evacuate livestock, farm chattels and inventory

For addition program information and guidelines for eligibility, contact the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing or your local CEMC.

Farm Preparedness Tips

  • Make a list of: inventory, including livestock and crops as well as hazardous substances and machinery; emergency contacts, such as veterinarian, insurance; suppliers or businesses providing services to your farm (livestock or milk transport, feed or fuel delivery).
  • Stockpile extra fuel, temporary identification of your animals, such as plastic neckbands and permanent markers to label animals with your name, address, and telephone number.
  • Handling equipment such as halters, cages, blankets, and appropriate tools for each kind of animal. Include bolt-cutters to quickly free animals in an emergency. 
  • Survey your property for the best location for animal sheltering. Ensure your animals have access to high areas in case of flooding, as well as to food and clean water.
  • Arrange in advance for a place to shelter your animals. Plan ahead and work within your community to establish safe shelters for farm animals, such as fairgrounds, other farms, racetracks, and exhibition centers. 
  • Set up safe transportation. You will need to have access to trucks, trailers, and other vehicles suitable for transporting each type of animal, along with experienced handlers and drivers. You may need access to a portable loading ramp to load, or unload, animals.
  • Whether you evacuate or shelter in place, make sure you have adequate and safe fencing or pens to separate and group animals appropriately.
  • Perform regular safety inspections on all utilities, buildings, and facilities on your farm.
  • Identify alternate water and power sources. A generator with a safely stored supply of fuel may be essential, especially if you have milking equipment or other electrical equipment necessary to the well-being of your animals.
  • Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week. Be aware municipal water supplies and wells may be contaminated during an emergency.
  • Secure or remove anything that could become blowing debris; make a habit of securing trailers, propane tanks, and other large objects. If you have feed troughs or other large containers, fill them with water before any high wind event. This prevents them from blowing around and also provides an additional supply of water.
  • Visit for more information and links to additional resources on rural preparedness or contact your municipal emergency management coordinator (See community page for contact info). -

Business Continuity

Whether it's a natural disaster such as an ice storm, or a serious accident in an industrial plant, an unforeseen event can disrupt business operations at any company.

Additionally, in an emergency situation, your employees may not be able to come to work. Your suppliers may face a shortage of the materials you need to continue your business activities, or demand for your services may simply decline.

Be proactive by developing a plan to improve your businesses’ chance of survival during or after significant disasters. A plan can help ensure your employees know how to stay in touch and know what to do in the event of an emergency. Keep your products moving and your critical services running.

A well designed plan will help you minimize the risk that an emergency poses to your employees, clients and suppliers, the continuity of your business operations and your bottom line

What’s in a Business Continuity Plan?

  • What you do to reduce risk before an event
  • How you respond during an event
  • What you do to recover after an event

The Simple Disaster Recovery To-Do List

  1. Identify Key Contacts - It is important to maintain up-to-date contact information for all employees, customers and vendors. Remember to keep this information offsite so it is easily accessible.
  2. Develop an Evacuation Plan - Share your plan and meeting place with employees and post it around the building. Schedule a drill so all employees know exactly where to go and what is expected of them.
  3. Back up your Data - Backing up your data is an important task you need to perform on a regular basis. Also, remember to store a copy of your data.
  4. Make Copies of Important Documents - This includes insurance papers, contracts, tax documents etc.
  5. Identify Alternate Facilities – Consider an alternate or back up site to transfer and resume business operations immediately following a disaster.
  6. Delegate Responsibility – Every disaster recovery plan should have a list of who is responsible for each task. The first step is to identify your needs and decided who will do what. For example, who will: secure your existing site, find a new work site, arrange for new computer systems, retrieve the backup data, restore telephone and internet

To learn more visit Public Safety Canada