Perdue Farms’ icy test
Generators kept this Kentucky complex functioning. Is your operation ready for the ice,
snow and wind that may come your way this winter? BY TERRENCE O’KEEFE
How Perdue Farms dealt with a catastrophic ice storm in the winter of 2008-09 is a prepared- ness model for poultry
producers. Planning and preparation are
essential in everything from making sure
electrical generators with fuel are in place
to deploying feed delivery trucks and satellite phones.
Perdue Farms’ Cromwell,
Kentucky, broiler complex is in a
part of the country that experiences
some signi;cant snowfall just about
every year, but a massive ice storm
in January 2009 put its emergency
preparedness to the test.
Need to cut winter
Read online, “ 15 cost-saving ideas
for poultry housing”
Speaking at the North Carolina
Broiler Breeder and Hatchery
Management Conference, Perdue’s
live production manager at the complex, Lynde Hughes, said a typical
winter normally has two or three snow events
of eight to 10 inches.
Heading into the winter of 2008-2009, the
company’s plan for coping with these storm
events had three major components:
Live production personnel knew that
operations shifted to the hatchery in the event
of power outages.
All on-farm generators were given semiannual service checks.
On-farm feed inventories were ramped
up beginning in mid-December.
Not an ordinary storm
A light snow began to fall in Kentucky
on January 26, 2009, but the precipitation
turned to freezing rain and snow and
continued for three days. Then, the ;rst
week of February brought more frozen
precipitation. Accumulation totals ranged
3, and by Wednesday morning there was
no power and no landline or cell phone
Communications cut off
Fallen trees and tree limbs were everywhere. “If you didn’t have a chain saw,
you weren’t going anywhere,” Hughes
said. “It took me an hour to get out of my
Because of the extensive damage to power lines, the last farm’s power was not restored until 28 days after the storm.
from 2-10 inches of snow and 1-3 inches
of ice, which coupled with high winds,
brought down trees and power lines over
a wide area.
One hundred and one of Kentucky’s
120 counties were affected. In some cases,
miles of high voltage lines came down as
Power outages to Perdue operations and
farms started on Tuesday night, February
Hughes hoped that the complex’s 123
farms all had generators working, but he
had no way to check. The hatchery’s genera-
tors were running on Wednesday morning,
and though there was no hatch scheduled
for that day, come Thursday morning and
275,000 chicks were going to need to go
out to farms.