Your tools and equipment are essential to earning your livelihood, but are you doing all you can to ward off farm theft? While insurance policies are an essential first step to protecting your assets in the case of loss, these extra security precautions can help prevent farm theft from happening in the first place.
Watching From Afar
Closed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, is one of the best ways you can protect your property from theft. Well-placed cameras can help you watch over your most vulnerable areas, and home security apps enable you to view your property remotely. For a cheaper option, consider dummy CCTV cameras — often times, the appearance of cameras is enough to deter thieves.
Keeping It Out of Sight
Keeping your farm equipment out of plain sight so that it's not easily visible and accessible from the road is a simple way to avoid potential theft. And don’t forget to keep outbuildings, yards and houses well lit. Whether you leave lights on or have them motion-activated, it will discourage criminals who don’t want to be seen.
Putting Fido to Work
Use animals as deterrents. A good watch dog around the property with proper signage such as “Beware of Dog” is effective. Geese are also good noise makers when strangers come.
Locking It All Up
Store what you can inside outbuildings that can be locked up tight with locking bars or high-security padlocks. Fuel tanks, large equipment and tools should be locked up inside. Store power tools in lockable containers that are also attached to the ground or wall. Keep a record of serial numbers or log all pieces of equipment so you can keep track of equipment in the event of farm theft.
Taking Away the Keys
Store ATVs or UTVs inside an outbuilding and remove the keys when they’re not in use. Keep these in the house with you or in a different location. You can also use wheel clamps or locking posts to keep them secure. Consider parking larger vehicles in front of doors to complicate access.
Leaving a Mark
Leave a security marking on equipment and register them when you can. Put your zip code on the top of your trailers so they can be easily seen from the sky. You can paint your equipment in bright colors or put on a warning decal that will help them be spotted if they are taken. For your livestock, mark them using a recommended method and/or look into microchipping.
Using Layers of Security
The more security precautions you take, the less likely it is that you’ll have to deal with stolen farm machinery. Adding immobilizers or chip keys, or removing batteries and wheels helps you keep your peace of mind.
Form a rural watch group with nearby neighbors and friends to look after each other’s properties. Jot down descriptions of strangers and vehicles including license number, location, date and time. This can be helpful to police if crimes occur in the area.
If you are the victim of a theft, reach out to your Farm Bureau agent and they will help start the claims process.