May 27, 2020

Risk Management on the Farm: Series Introduction

Adopting a safety approach to all aspects of the farm can only benefit you as a farmer. In the insurance world, this concept is often called risk management and it is all about protecting you, your family, and business

If you aren’t familiar with the term “risk management” it means:

Taking steps to prevent a loss to property or reduce the chances of a loss through training, technology, and processes.

For example, installing a sprinkler system is a technology that can reduce the loss in a fire. Hosting an annual workplace hazard training session reminds staff about dangers on the farm and how to prevent accidents.

Over the next ten weeks, we will explore farm risk management, the benefits it can provide you, and how it may impact farm insurance coverage. We will dive into five different types of farms and some scenarios unique to each.

Part 1: Poultry

Part 2: Dairy

Part 3: Ranch

Part 4: Grain

Part 5: Fruit and Berry

Farm Risk Management In Common 

Although the five farm types listed above grow or raise different products for market, there are some shared risks between them.

Fuel Tanks

Both rural and urban farms make use of fuel tanks for diesel, propane, oil, and gasoline. These fuels have many uses on the farm such as powering farm machinery and heating a barn. Of course, fuels are highly combustible, so protecting tanks is very important. Consider the following for risk management:

  • Number of fuel tanks on the property
  • Type of fuel tanks i.e. single or double walled
  • Distance of fuel tanks in relation to a house or a farm building
  • Securing fuel tanks to a solid foundation of cement or other substance
  • Protecting fuel tanks from impact with a barrier or posts
  • Regular inspection for leaks and damage to fuel tanks including vents, pumps, and valves
  • Regular inspection and maintenance from a qualified technician

Sometimes an insurance company will require you to meet conditions in order to receive coverage. For example, if your farm insurance policy requires once yearly inspection by a qualified technician, you must keep record of each visit. In the event of a claim, the track record will provide confirmation you have fulfilled your part of the insurance contract.

If you have any questions, your insurance broker can help you understand your responsibilities in an insurance contract.


Should a fire occur on your farm, what kind of firefighting apparatus is available to you to protect your property? Fire is a common loss for farmers, so it is important to consider this risk seriously. Additionally, preparing for a potential fire is different if there is a fire hall nearby or far away from the farm. Consider the following:

  • Type of firefighting apparatus and locations. For example, fire extinguishers, fire alarm, sprinkler system, portable fire pump
  • Practicing a fire drill
  • Implement a no smoking rule on the property or designate a smoking area

Training and emergency processes can benefit everyone on the farm!

Good Housekeeping and Maintenance

Regular housekeeping and maintenance on a farm can help with farm risk management.

  • Keep well-documented service records
  • Maintain machinery and equipment
    • Store under cover to protect it from the elements, where possible
    • Recommend following manufacturer guidelines for oil changes and servicing
    • Ensure machinery is well maintained i.e. kept clean from dirt and greases
  • Monitor condition of the roofs and exteriors on each of the outbuildings
    • Keep gutters clear of debris
    • Repair loose or missing roof tiles
    • Repair exterior of outbuildings as required
  • Keep a tidy farmyard ensuring there are no tripping hazards and any dangerous materials are safely stored away
  • Plan for pest control to keep rodents and wildlife away
  • Upkeep farm buildings as they age
    • Repair fittings, electrical, sewage, water etc. based on current best practices
    • Check for asbestos before demolishing walls or buildings
    • Use lead-free paint and materials
    • Ensure combustibles are removed around heating units, fans, and electrical panels
    • Ensure all stairs have hand railings to prevent slips and falls
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