Emergency power supply

Recently, I have been thinking about purchasing a generator for my farm. The requirement for an emergency power supply is not always necessary, but should be considered, particularly if you have animals. Power requirements for livestock are critical as power is often used for ventilation, and for supplying feed and water. I am fortunate, as I have a small cattle operation where I can supply all of these without electricity. My barn and feeding area is open and the cattle have access to a small lot, so no fans are used. My farm has (inconvenient) water supplies that are spring and gravity fed, which can be used if the power is interrupted (however in the winter the surfaces may freeze). While I do use a motorized feed line, I still feed hay and can do so with the tractor even if there is no electricity. However, a power outage would still prove to be a major inconvenience impacting most of the daily chores. For this reason, I have been looking at purchasing a generator. ANSI/ASABE standard EP282.2 'Design Values for Emergency Ventilation and Care of Livestock and Poultry' states that generators should be sized to provide power for minimum ventilation fans, water pumps, lighting, feed equipment motors, milking machines, vacuum pumps, and refrigeration equipment. In looking for information about generators, I found this extension publication from Virginia Tech. I think it does a nice job helping decide the size generator that a farm may need. I would encourage farmers who do not currently have a back-up generator to consider purchasing one. For those that do have an old generator, (1) start your generator to check that it is working (this should be done a few times a year) (2) if you have increased your farming capacity or added new motors/equipment, make sure the current generator can handle all the equipment you need to be able to run. Remember when severe weather threatens, the availability of generators will be low or nonexistent and the cost will be high.