While it may not be discussed much in mainstream media, agriculture theft is big business, though it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Everything from copper wire and farm equipment to nuts and cattle are targets. Unfortunately farmers don’t have showrooms and warehouses to lock up their merchandise – their products and equipment are right out in the open for the taking. So this begs the question … how do farmers protect themselves from theft? Theft prevention can span a wide spectrum, from not parking machinery where there’s easy road access to installing beams and security cameras that can monitor the entire property.
Farm Security Systems
Many farmers ask, “What is the best farm security system on the market?” This proves tricky to answer, since one system may be a great fit for one farmer but may not be ideal for another. It all comes down to the necessities and desires of each farm. There are a few to consider when finding the “perfect solution” for your property.
- Burglar alarms
- Security cameras that can be watched via smartphone
- Perimeter security including infrared beams
- GPS tracking on equipment
- Monitors to track the level of oil or water in tanks
- It may even be possible to use your farm tax exemption status to make it even more affordable to install the perfect security solution.
Just the Facts
Statistics isolated to agricultural theft are hard to come by since they are usually lumped in with grand theft but we were able to find a few.
- According to the 2011 Theft Report by National Insurance Crime Bureau, California ranked #4 in heavy equipment theft in 2011 with 651 cases.
- Annual estimates of equipment theft damages vary from about $300 million to $1 billion, with most estimates in the range of $400 million.
- This harvest season in the Central Valley, thieves cut through a fence and hauled off $400,000 in walnuts. Another $100,000 in almonds was stolen by a driver with a fake license. And $100,000 in pistachios was taken by a big rig driver who left a farm without filling out any paperwork.
- In 2012, cattle owners reported 1,317 stolen or missing cows.
- John Deere
These are harsh realities that make farm theft a critical concern. But like many problems, the fixes are out there.