How Secure Is Your Farm?

Susan Kerr, Washington State University Extension, Klickitat County Extension Director and Pam King, UMD Extension, Retired
Publish Date: 
Summer 12
VolNo: 
Vol. VII No. 3

Would this sign deter everyday crime on the farm?

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 security of property as well as biosecurity issues. This list is not exhaustive; it should serve as a starting place for you to develop your own farm security plan.

Property Security
___ Effective gates and locks are in place and used wherever possible and monitored frequently
___ Keys are tagged, coded and kept in a secure area
___ Keys are never left in vehicles or equipment; vehicles are locked when not in use
___ Copies of keys are minimal and must be signed out
___ Locks are changed and keys recovered when employees are fired or leave
___ Watchdogs, videocameras, motion detection lights or other electronic monitoring devices are placed in strategic locations
___ The property is well identified for emergency personnel by reflective numbers on the mailbox post or other location
___ An emergency contact list is next to each phone and numbers are pre-programmed into cell phones. Numbers include fire, police, ambulance, veterinarian and poison control
___ An up-to-date farm map has been created that lists the contents at each location and highlights the location of objects of interest (chemicals, fertilizer, fuel, vehicles, livestock, etc.)
___ All chemicals are stored in a locked and weatherproof building and as recommended by the manufacturer’s label instructions
___ Adequate lighting is in place to permit work and deter theft or other crimes
___ Woodpiles, debris piles, brush and other potential hiding places are not located near buildings
___ Routine checks are conducted on cropland to monitor for evidence of unusual disease or damage
___ Simulations of emergencies have been conducted involving all family members and employees
___ Working fire extinguishers are in plain sight in numerous places. Employees know where they are and how to use them
___ Working fire alarms are in place and their batteries are replaced every six months
___ An on-site inspection by local fire department personnel has identified areas of concern and these have been addressed
___ An on-site inspection by a law enforcement professional has identified additional security
issues and these have been addressed
___ Adequate insurance coverage has been purchased to cover theft, chemical spills, damage from vandalism, terrorist attacks or other coverage as recommended by a farm insurance agent
___ Vulnerable areas have been identified and deficiencies corrected

Biosecurity
___ All animals are identified
___ All animals are inventoried frequently
___ Animals are monitored frequently for signs of illness or harm
___ Complete and accurate animal health records are maintained
___ Effective nutrition, vaccination and parasite control programs are in place
___ Additions to the herd are quarantined for at least 30 days before introduced to the herd
___ Sick animals are housed in an isolation area away from other animals. They are fed and treated after healthy animal chores are completed. Clothes and footwear are changed and disinfected after dealing with sick animals
___ Entry of personnel, including visitors, is controlled
___ Visitors must sign in and provide their address. International visitors may have restricted access to certain areas of the farm for disease control purposes.
___ Coveralls, plastic boot covers and/or boots are provided for approved visitors
___ Disinfectant is available and used on boots, tires and equipment
___ If equipment must be borrowed from neighbors, it is disinfected before and after use
___ Feed is stored well away from sources of contamination such as fuel, chemicals, etc.
___ Feed is protected from contamination by cat, bird and vermin feces
___ No mammalian-origin protein is fed to ruminants
___ All feed records are kept for at least five years
___ Fences and barns are well maintained
___ No fences are shared with neighbors
___ Separate equipment is used for feed and waste handling
___ Dead animals are necropsied then disposed of properly
___ Watering areas are not located close to roads or other areas with easy access by passersby
___ Crops and cropland is protected through controlled access, excellent fencing and frequent monitoring

Personnel
___ Reference and background checks are performed on new employees
___ Up-to-date first aid kits and water flush bottles are located in numerous places on the property and everyone knows their location
___ Several people on the farm have first aid/CPR training
___ Common contacts’ names and contact information is complete, up-to-date and located so that others could find it in the event of the manager’s absence
___ Employees have appropriate pesticide handlers’ training and certificate
___ Employees and family members know how to monitor for security issues and what to do in the event of a security breach

Other Security Issues
___ Farm records are complete and accurate
___ Farm computers have up-to-date and effective anti-virus software
___ Property and equipment is monitored continually and suspicious activity is reported to law enforcement immediately

Farm Security Course
Do you want to learn more about farm security? Take the free online farm security course at http://campus. extension.org/course/view.php?id=54 and take an in-depth look at how to increase the security of your farm.