By Growcom CEO David Thomson

In the eye of storm season, now is a better time than any to talk about improving natural disaster preparedness and reducing climate impacts on your business.

While Australia has always been the land of extremes, climate change is now contributing to the severity of these extremes. That is bad news for horticulture as the intensive nature of our industry can lead to large losses.

To help manage risks and minimise the effects of unpredictable weather events, Growcom has developed the Horticultural Natural Disaster Toolkit. This is a great starting point for getting your business ready for storm season. It includes checklists for your emergency kit, pre and post-event activities along with tips for looking after yourself, your family and employees.

To help you prepare for an emergency the Toolkit recommends growers:

  1. Assess your climate risks while considering updated climate projections and seasonal forecasts.
  2. Register for weather alerts and warnings.
  3. Compile a list of emergency contacts, including your local council’s disaster or emergency centre.
  4. Take down your neighbour’s contact details and check in with them before and after a weather event.
  5. Back up essential business information and records to a cloud, external hard drive or USB.
  6. Discuss your emergency plan with your employees and designate someone to take the lead when you are absent. The plan should include allowances for all staff to secure their own homes.
  7. Know your rights and obligations as an employer and prepare emergency kits for work and home.
  8. Make sure you have access to an alternative power source (generator) and working chainsaw.
  9. Have emergency fuel stocks and plenty of chainsaw oil.
  10. Identify effective pruning and management strategies to protect your crops from high winds and flooding.
  11. Clean up around your farm to minimise damage.
  12. Ensure there is enough food stocks to last at least one week.
  13. Have cash available in case of long, widespread power outages.
  14. Manage inventory to ensure quick insurance claims.
  15. Ensure your insurance has been recently reviewed and keep a copy of this information in your emergency kit.

To download a copy of the Toolkit, visit www.growcom.com.au/services/climate-adaptation-disaster-resilience

If you have any questions about getting your farm business prepared for storm season, please get in contact with your local Growcom officer or Growcom’s Climate & Resilience Coordinator, Lene Knudsen at lknudsen@growcom.com.au