Agricultural producers, cattlemen and livestock owners in coastal areas should take precautionary steps to protect equipment and livestock against flooding and other weather issues arising from a tropical weather pattern that is advancing on the Louisiana coast.

“Heavy rains and wind gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour associated with Tropical Depression 13 in the Gulf of Mexico could potentially cause problems for your equipment and livestock over the weekend,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “Farmers and livestock owners should be prepared and monitor advisories that are issued from their local governmental authorities.”

Louisiana Department of Animal Health and Food Safety officials said there are a number of steps livestock owners should consider in advance of the severe weather.

For cattle:

  • Get cattle to the highest ground on your property that can allow access to trailers and vehicles if animals need to be moved.
  • Valuable breeding stock should be identified and moved in accordance with owner's evacuation plan. Those animals should be kept closer to the homestead for easier transport.
  • Ideally, cattle and equine trailers should be in good working order. Check your tail lights and tires and repair or replace them if necessary and possible.
  • If you shelter in place, be sure to have a three to five day supply of water and hay for cattle.
  • If a large group of cattle is to be moved, it's important that each herd member is properly identified with brands, microchips or ear tags. Identify the ultimate evacuation location for livestock.
  • Plan to carry at least five days of food for your animals on livestock transports, especially if the animals require a specially formulated diet.
  • Compile a record of mechanical inventory left behind and bring with you.
  • Have photographs taken of your equipment and have copies with you; photograph your expensive saddles and bridles and other tack. The more documentation you have proving you own this property the better.

For horses:

  • Horses must have a permanent identification, whether it be microchip, brand or lip tattoo.
  • Owners should bring all identification papers if evacuation is necessary along with a copy of the horse's current Coggins test record. It is extremely important to have the Coggins test record.
  • Owners should also carry recent photographs of their horses (including identifying marks or scars) with them if forced to evacuate.

The LDAF Emergency Programs Information Center at www.LDAF.state.la.us has information on how best to prepare your animals and yourself for extreme weather emergencies. A click on the Emergency Programs link in the top right hand column of the page will bring you directly to the Emergency Programs page located here.