Farm disasters such as disease, feed contamination, fires and floods can come without warning.

It’s important to make sure crop, livestock or poultry operations are safe and biosecure.

A team of Extension professionals from across the United States developed an educational tool to assist farm and ranch managers become better prepared for any disaster. The tool is called ReadyAG: Disaster and Defense Preparedness for Production Agriculture.

Before disaster strikes, ReadyAG can help farmers and ranchers plan and prepare to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from all types of damaging incidents.

ReadyAG is designed to help identify vulnerabilities and prioritize actions to make agricultural operations more resilient and sustainable in the face of adversity.

"This should prove to be a great tool for farmers to use to not only prepare for emergencies, but to identify opportunities for improvement within their operations," said Jimmy Maass, safety manager for Virginia Farm Bureau.

"A little bit of planning before a disaster or emergency will definitely make recovery a much smoother process."

ReadyAG begins with a general preparedness assessment then has commodity-specific sections including cattle, crops, dairy, fruit and vegetable, swine and poultry.

The assessments can be filled out online and will automatically populate a customized action plan to address items identified as high priority vulnerabilities.

"If you want to use this program, don’t get discouraged if you find there are a lot more items that need addressing than you thought," Maass said. "While it may seem overwhelming, just keep at it and work on the larger items first."

The ReadyAG workbook and additional information can be found at readyag.psu.edu.