Assessing poultry, livestock damage after flooding in South Carolina

Agriculture damage assessment from flooding in South Carolina has begun.Officials are asking farmers for help in reporting damage involving poultry and livestock.

After historic flooding in South Carolina, agriculture damage assessment has begun. Officials are asking farmers for help in reporting damage involving South Carolina livestock and poultry.

Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH), a state regulatory agency that protects animal health and investigates diseases, asks that livestock owners document any property damages — along with photos, if possible — to appropriate parties, including to local county Clemson Extension agents, who serve on the county emergency board.

“It’s important that we know what problems we face so that resources can be allocated to meet the need,” said Charlotte Krugler, LPH emergency preparedness veterinarian. “The state also needs damage estimates as part of the second phase federal disaster application. We don’t know at this point what aid may be available, but we can be sure there will be none if the damage is not reported.”

LPH personnel have been stationed in the S.C. Emergency Operations Center since its activation at noon Friday. Clemson Extension staff have the official damage assessment report form with which to document losses to the center.

For farms that have suffered large numbers of storm-related animal deaths, farmers are urged to contact the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Agriculture Compliance office to determine if the farm’s carcass management plan needs to be reviewed or changed for this event.

Krugler also advises farmers to examine their property for hazards, especially before letting animals back out onto pastures. Hazards include damaged fences and waste systems, downed power lines, flooded areas, gas and utility leaks, debris, looters, strange animals — either domesticated or wildlife — and toxic plant parts (such as downed cherry tree leaves) that may have blown in. Observe any animals found on your property and report them so they can be checked or scanned for identification and returned to their owners.

Check animals for injuries, including feet and skin in animals that have had prolonged exposure to flooded areas, and for wire or string wrapped around limbs that may not be immediately obvious. If animals have been off regular feeding schedules, move back to regular diets slowly. Proportion access to water gradually, especially to pigs: Offer small amounts initially to avoid salt poisoning.

Expect that animals may be temporarily disoriented, nervous, and even fractious following an emergency event, since the character, feel, smell, look and layout of their surroundings has changed. Animals that don’t normally act up may fight to re-establish hierarchy and may need to be separated. As much as possible, use familiar personnel and protocols to assist them to re-acclimate.

The flooding has temporarily closed its office doors, but LPH operations continue during the emergency. LPH personnel have been stationed in the S.C. Emergency Operations Center since its activation at noon on Friday. The state veterinarian and his assistants continue to be available to receive and investigate reports of sick or dying livestock and poultry. They may be reached at 803-726-7813, [email protected] or [email protected].

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