Leonhardt Urges Farmers to Prepare for Possible Winter Storms

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As potential winter storms head toward the Mountain State, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) and Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt are encouraging farmers, as well as pet owners, to take the necessary precautions to protect their animals.

“As the state braces for potential freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, farmers, as well as pet owners, need to ensure their animals have the proper care. Good planning can save lives and property,” said Commissioner Leonhardt. “Our goal is to reduce property damages and risk of injury to producers and their livestock.”

Before freezing temperatures or heavy snow fall hit, take precautions to keep your family, property, and animals out of harm’s way:

  • Move equipment and hay bales closer to animals.
  • Check your livestock and pets to make sure they have access to safe areas, clean water, and food.
  • Inspect your roofs and do minor repairs if needed.
  • Make sure you have fuel for your generator, saws, tractor, and other equipment.
  • Make sure your chainsaw is ready and in working order.
  • Make sure your livestock have access to adequate grass and feed for several days as you might not be able to start machinery.
  • Ensure all animals, including pets, have proper shelter and food including adequate heat.
  • Consider feeding livestock at night because heat from digesting food peaks a few hours after consumption.

“Livestock use more energy in cold weather and benefit from an increased amount of quality feed. This especially important for any pregnant livestock during periods of sub-zero temperatures,” Leonhardt said. “Producers who have questions should reach out to the WVDA’s animal health division.”

For more information, contact WVDA’s Animal Health Division at 304-558-2214.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.