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Business Continuity for Farms

We’re feeling a bit guilty here at Continuity in Business Towers.  This is the first article we’ve written specifically for the farming community, and we’re wondering why we haven’t done it before.

Thanks to KayDee Gilkey prompting us to rectify this oversight with Is Your Farm or Ranch Disaster Ready?.

Continuity planning for farming is just like any other business, to some extent.  But  many tasks are far less reliant on information technology and more labour intensive, so scenarios such as loss of people, loss of power, and lack of access to various parts of the estate can have devastating consequences very quickly.

The process of business continuity for farming and ranching remains the same.  Identifying critical elements of the business can be undertaken with the standard business impact analysis process, strategies for continuity arrangements can be made, plans can be written and exercises can be held.

But business continuity is part of normal business for farmers, simply because the consequences of interruptions can be so devastating.  It’s not just things like foot and mouth and avian flu and severe weather that keeps farmers awake at night, it’s even the simple things – like not quite enough rain or a little too much, or the power being out for just a few hours at the wrong time.

The good news is that there is specialist advice for business continuity planning on farms and ranches.  While our own free resources are still very useful for those taking the process itself very seriously (perhaps for certification, insurance or supplier/customer needs) there’s also a brilliant disaster and defence preparedness workbook available online from Ready Ag.

Ready Ag - business continuity planning for farmers and ranches

Ready Ag comes from Penn State University in the US.  They’ve done lots of work so you don’t have to, and considered all sorts of scenarios, including flood, drought, power outages, disease outbreaks, terrorist incidents, storms, fire and all sorts of other disruption sources.  It contains individual sections for all sort of sectors including cattle, crops, dairy,  fruits and vegetables, poultry and pigs.  It covers facilities and materials, people, planning and practice.

It includes templates for action plans, emergency phone lists, inventory lists, maps of the estate, references and producer surveys.  You can download the sections or complete them online.

We’re sorry we haven’t included the farming community before, and we’ll do our best to make sure we don’t overlook you again!

We’ve also noted that many of the usual business continuity exercises simply aren’t going to be tailored for the needs of the farming community, and specialist exercises are going to have to be created.   Don’t worry, we’ve spotted this and we’ll do our best to meet that need if anyone gets in touch and asks us to!

 

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