Cattle theft reports are in the news nonstop in Missouri and even in Oklahoma and Arkansas as cattle prices continue to rise in the Ozarks. In March alone, the Livestock Marketing Association has listed six reports in Missouri, two in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas. And that doesn’t include the thefts that go without being reported. What can we do to prevent this from happening on our farms?
I hit the Internet and phone lines to see what industry experts have to say about preventing thefts on your farm. I’ve put together a few tips:
1. Check cattle regularly. Check pastures and fences.
2. Keep gates locked and monitor who has access to the keys.
3. Be visible on your farm. Leave tire tracks and stop by at different times of the day. Cattle thieves could be watching your farms so vary the times you are coming and going from your farm. Don’t establish a pattern.
4. If you can, locate handling facilities away from public roads. This also goes for equipment. Park your trailers and equipment out of visibility from the road and don’t leave keys in the ignition.
5. Be aware of strangers and unfamiliar vehicles. Write down their license plate numbers and alert your neighbors. The more concrete details you can obtain the better. If at all possible get a description of the person and their vehicle.
6. Establish a rural neighborhood watch program. Use your neighbors as extra eyes and ears.
7. Keep accurate records on your livestock. Identify your livestock using tattooing, branding or at the very least ear tags. Tattooing is an inexpensive form of identification and thieves may not even know they are there. Livestock identification is essential for proof of ownership and the return of stolen livestock.
8. Consider installing driveway sensors, alarms for electric fences or video cameras.
If you see suspicious activity on your farm or a neighbor’s farm contact your local Sheriff’s office immediately. It is important to report stolen livestock as soon as possible. Tips and cattle theft reports in Arkansas can be reported to the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association at 501-758-0020. Tips and cattle theft reports in Oklahoma can be reported to the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association at 405-286-2899 or to the Investigative Service Unit of Oklahoma at 405-522-6102.
Cattle thefts are nothing new, unfortunately, and we may not be able to stop it completely but at least we can make it more difficult for it to happen on our farms. Maybe if we join together we can stop our farms from being targeted.
Best wishes,


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