Whether you grow crops for distributors or your family, have 20 head of cattle or 20,000—your farm is your livelihood.
Protecting our farms isn’t only important for farmers. It’s important for the food security of our community and the economy as a whole. In 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that agriculture and its related industries contributed over one trillion dollars to the GDP of the United States and provided over twenty-one million jobs (11% of employment across all sectors).
When we think of rural America, we think of families, a slower pace, strong communities and little (if any) crime. However, regardless of whether your farm is near an urban center, within proximity to a main roadway, hidden or exposed, large or small, it has surprisingly high potential to be a target for agricultural crime.
In order to get an understanding of agricultural crime, let’s look at a study from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). According to the study between 12 percent and 25 percent of farmers are victimized over any given two-year period, with rates in some parts of the country even higher (up to 60 percent).
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) suggests that the average loss associated with agricultural equipment theft in the US is $3,744 USD, with higher estimates for both livestock ($7,000 USD) and crop theft (over $29,000 USD per incident).
The ETSU study states that most agricultural crime instances are not reported, and for several good reasons. Agricultural crime can be difficult to prove, farms are often located in unincorporated areas where underequipped and understaffed law enforcement agencies are tasked with covering large geographic areas, making it difficult for them to proactively police that area, and also, because farms are generally located a distance away from law enforcement agencies, responding to calls for service takes longer.
Considering these factors, combined with a sense that law enforcement and government agencies lack a solid understanding of the agricultural industry, it’s no wonder that farmers need to take security into their own hands.
In order to understand the types of security measures needed, it’s important to understand the types of crime we are addressing. A study from 2017 revealed that in the previous 12 months:
- over 33 percent of farms had experienced theft
- 16 percent experienced vandalism
- 30 percent of farmers had experienced illegal dumping
- 27.5 percent experienced poaching
- 44 percent experienced trespassing
Interestingly, many farmers in the study perceived that trespassing was closely followed by an increase in the other crimes, indicating a direct line from exposure to the property to criminal activity.
Put another way, these studies indicate that offenders usually have a connection to the owner or the property. Perhaps, it’s someone who’s been on the farm once or twice, legally or not, or an employee, past or present.
What is Good Security?
Whether you have a large farm, a farm that is close to an urban area, near major roadways or hidden or exposed, the safety of your farm is only as good as the security measures that are in place.
Nathan Drager, owner and president of Quantum Technologies states, “We no longer live in a world where you simply rely on your neighbors to keep an eye out for you. And if you wait until something happens, or until something happens to your neighbor, it may already be too late. Don’t wait to see how bad it will be before you take steps to protect yourself.”
Studies show that the more security measures you implement, the better off you will be. Quantum Technologies has worked with a growing list of farms in Northeast Wisconsin and has put a list of security measures together for your reference.
- Perimeter Security: Creating a robust physical barrier is the first line of defense for any farm. Fences, gates, and security cameras strategically placed around the farm perimeter can deter trespassers and potential thieves. Advanced technologies such as motion sensors, infrared cameras can provide real-time alerts, allowing farmers to respond promptly to any security breaches.
- Access Control Systems: Implementing access control systems, including key cards, biometric scanners, or smart locks, restricts entry to authorized personnel only. This measure not only safeguards against theft but also ensures the safety of farm animals and machinery.
- Internet Protocol (IP) Surveillance Systems: Installing cameras at key locations across the farm provides continuous monitoring. These modern systems allow remote access, enabling farmers to keep an eye on their property even when they are not physically present. High-resolution cameras with night vision capabilities enhance surveillance during the night, significantly improving overall security. Learn more about Quantum Technologies IP Surveillance Systems here.
- Smart Farming: Smart sensors can detect environmental changes, track livestock, and monitor equipment usage. Connected devices can send alerts and notifications to farmers’ smartphones, enabling them to respond promptly to issues such as water leaks, temperature fluctuations, or unauthorized entry.
- Data Security: Ensuring the cybersecurity of these systems is paramount. Regularly updated software, strong and protected passwords, and encryption technologies protect sensitive farm-related data from cyber threats. Quantum Care by Quantum Technologies offers just that, plus remote IT support any time, day or night.
Quantum Technologies can work with you on your strategic plan to implement a full suite of interconnected features that keep your farm safe. All of these features require strong Wi-Fi networks, another skill set of Quantum Technologies, no matter where you are.
The effects of agricultural crime extend beyond personal victimization. They can affect the community and the economy.
In this day and age, technology is your first line of defense. Your farm is your livelihood and Quantum Technologies is ready to partner with you on protecting your farm with the most advanced technology available.
It’s time to talk about getting your farm up-to-date with the latest security features. Talk to Quantum Technologies today.