Short-range preparations are those things to do now, even though Sandy’s path is still somewhat uncertain.

These include:

• Monitoring local weather reports for up-to-the-minute information on the storm.

• Charging batteries on cell phones and cameras.

• Determining check-in points for family members and workers.

• Storing or securing items or equipment that may blow away or blow into structures, including lawn furniture and ornaments.

• Checking generators to be sure they are in good working order and purchasing sufficient amounts of fuel to operate them.

• Checking feed inventory and ordering extra if needed.

• Moving poultry and livestock to higher ground if possible and sheltering them in securely battened barns, houses or tightly-fenced areas.

• Planning for the possibility of evacuation and identifying horse facilities in nearby vicinities that are willing to take horses in an emergency. Find out what their requirements are for vaccinations or tests such as the Coggins Test. Have a system for permanently identifying each horse with its name, your name and a phone number.

• Turning off the propane supply at tanks and securing tanks in the event of flooding to prevent them from floating away.

• Moving equipment to the highest, open ground possible away from trees or buildings.

• Pumping and storing adequate supplies of drinking water for humans and animals in the case of power outages. Recommendations are for a minimum 36-hour reserve.

• Topping off all gas, propane and other fuel tanks, including the family vehicles.

• Marking animals with an identifier so they can be returned to you if lost. This can include ear tags with name of farm and/or phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.

• Moving feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.

• Checking the security of roofing materials, siding and windows and doors in barns and poultry houses to make sure they will not blow off or blow open in strong winds.

• Coordinating with neighbors beforehand to discuss what resources can be shared in the event of power outages or flooding.

• Making a list of important phone numbers ahead of time in order to make calls following a storm. Potential numbers to include are the local emergency management office, county extension agent, insurance agent, county Farm Service Agency and private veterinarian.

For local emergency offices, contact http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/contact/

• Being prepared for storms and hurricanes could help farmers limit their losses, but preparation needs to begin now, before Hurricane Sandy hits Upstate New York.

Farmers may be interested in consulting the Hurricane Irene archive for further information regarding agriculture issues and disaster recovery: http://emergencypreparedness.cce.cornell.edu/disasters/pages/irene-lee.aspx