Protect your farm and livestock
Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, July 23, 2019
By JERRY LITTLE
Is your farm protected against everyday crime? How about agroterrorism? The measures to take to protect your land and property, from both types of crime, are similar and well worth the effort to put in place. An effective plan should consider property and biosecurity issues. The following information can help you start planning.
Email newsletter signup
• Ask your insurance agent to walk your farm with you and review your coverage.
• Identify your property for emergency personnel with three-inch reflective numbers on the mailbox, post or other location.
• Install a well-hidden emergency information box for emergency personnel. Items in the information box should include an up-to-date farm map; a list of emergency contact persons and their phone numbers; locations and amounts of hazardous chemicals and material safety data sheets; and a list of the major contents of each building. Have the box location on file at your 911 dispatch center, and inform your local fire, and police chiefs or sheriff.
• Store all pesticides and farm chemicals in a locked and weatherproof building and as recommended by the label instructions.
• Invite your local fire department to your farm for a safety and security check. You should have numerous working fire extinguishers in plain sight. Employees should know where they are and how to use them. You should have working fire alarms in place. Replace their batteries every six months. Show fire personnel the locations of water mains, electricity control boxes, fuel and chemical supplies, your emergency information box and livestock holding areas. Remove woodpiles, debris piles, brush and other potential hiding places near these buildings.
• Install and maintain gates and locks, and use them whenever possible. Never leave keys in vehicles or equipment. Tag and code keys. Keep them in a secure place. Keep the number of key copies to a minimum; sign them out when needed. Recover keys and change locks when employees are fired or leave.
• Install adequate lighting to permit work and deter theft or other crimes. Light critical areas such as fuel tanks, grain bins and chemical storage areas. Place video cameras, motion detection lights or other electronic monitoring devices in strategic locations. Use watchdogs in appropriate locations.
• Place an emergency contact list next to each phone. Include fire, police, ambulance, veterinarian and poison control numbers. Pre-program the emergency numbers into cell phones.
• Routinely monitor cropland for evidence of unusual disease or damage. Controlling personnel and visitor entry to your farm is key. Walk around buildings and along fence lines to look for signs of trespassing and unusual activity. Also, be aware of unfamiliar vehicles. Family members and employees should report suspicious people, vehicles or activities to you and local law enforcement officials.
• It’s a good idea to provide opportunities for your employees to take appropriate training and certification courses such as pesticide handler training and certification. For all new and potential employees, you should always perform reference and background checks.
• Place up-to-date first aid kits and water flush bottles in numerous places on your property. Everyone should know where the kits are. Provide opportunities for employees to take first aid and CPR training. Be sure everyone knows who is certified.
• List routine business contacts and information in a convenient location so others can find it if you or your manager are absent. Maintain an up-to-date phone and address list of your employees.
• Make sure you keep good records and regularly back up your data offsite.
For more information, contact the Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service. You can also take a free online farm security course athttps://bit.ly/30TmDKl.
Jerry Little is the county extension agent for agriculture/natural resources.