A crisis can happen at any time and take many different forms. This guide will help you prepare when you don’t know where the next threat will come from. Staying calm, cool, and collected in the moment is essential.
Many emergencies can be mitigated with a quick and appropriate response. Before the event happens reflect on the following questions.
What outcomes are you seeking? You can arrive at this by determining what is most important to you and your family. How can you demonstrate your values in a crisis?
What crisis situation is of most concern to you and your family? What potential situation keeps you up at night? Use your answer as the basis for starting your crisis management planning. Over time, you can develop a crisis management plan that ranges from the worst-case scenario to the least concerning.
What must be done immediately to mitigate the threat? What actions will protect health and safety, prevent loss, and preserve reputation? Who in the family or business needs the training to ensure that these steps are taken? Identify who will do what ahead of time; many farms have a different person focus on a different emerging threat. Document your planned response and train your staff.
Who will need information, guidance, or updates? How will it be provided? Show your empathy before you show your expertise. Generate a holding statement that you can provide while you assess the situation. An example would be, “We are as shocked and saddened as you are. We are still gathering information and will share the findings with you when we know more.”
How will you monitor the situation for emerging threats? What resources will you need to continue taking care of your family, employees, cows, and farm? Reflect on the actions you took during the crisis and how things went (e.g., what worked and what didn’t work).
Crisis training takes imagination and preparedness. If you have a crisis situation on your farm, know that your contacts at the Connecticut Milk Promotion Board, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and New England Dairy are ready to help. We can assist in analyzing the situation and provide you with timely expertise and resources.