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Fire Prevention Tips for Farmers and Ranchers


Protect against yourself against the unexpected perils of fire.

Losses from a fire can be catastrophic to a farm or ranch. Around 20,000 fires, both accidental and wild, affect agricultural operations annually in this county. Fires can cause financial hardships, injure or kill livestock and pose a dangerous threat to the lives of workers and family members.

Although fire dangers can emerge spontaneously and quickly, you can help protect your farm or ranch by following some basic fire-prevention protocols.

General preparation

Here are some top tips for overall fire safety:

  • Isolate highly flammable and combustible materials.
  • Make sure to conduct regular fire drills with family and employees.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place to move livestock away from harm to a heavily grazed or plowed field, for instance.
  • Help your firemen out by always keeping obstructions cleared from aisles, walkways, driveways and doors. Also, consult with your fire department to make sure an adequate water supply is available to them at your property.
  • Make your fire department aware of what hazardous materials are kept at your facilities, and update the list on a regular basis.
  • Post "No Smoking" signs around barns, machinery and places where combustible or flammable materials are stored or used, and strictly enforce the rule.
  • Keep fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire alarms and sprinklers up to date and maintained.

Machinery safety

Farm machinery can be the potential source of many on-farm fires. To prevent possible fire ignition and spread:

  • Try to avoid parking hot machinery on dry grass.
  • Keep fully charged fire extinguishers on board tractors and combines and near all other machinery as well.
  • Operate welders, grinders and cutting torches at least 35 feet away from flammable and combustible materials. To minimize the spread of sparks, use welding curtains.

Good maintenance also plays a part. Exhaust systems - including manifolds, mufflers, and turbochargers - should be kept free of leaks and in good working order. Stick to a schedule when it comes to maintenance duties, especially when cleaning chaff, dust and other combustible materials.

Special Member Savings

At Southern States®, we are proud to be one of the nation's largest farmer-owned cooperatives. Southern States has partnered with Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance to offer Southern States Cooperative member-producers in North Carolina and Virginia special discounts on insurance. In addition to giving you exclusive insurance savings, we’re also joining forces to support the cooperative that means so much to you.

Nationwide® Agribusiness is the number 1 insurer of farms in the U.S. and a leading insurer of commercial agribusiness. Go to southernstatesnwag.com to find a local agent.


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