7 tips to improve security on your farm

Coshocton County Sheriff Tim Rogers speaks at a farmers' breakfast on Feb. 14.

In this final installment on rural security, we share additional tips on what you can do to protect your farm workers and your personal property from theft, and natural disaster.

As we mentioned last week, farmers have a lot at stake when it comes to personal property, and their property is often spread across multiple locations, in different  buildings or in different fields. You cannot be everywhere at once, but there are still things you can do to be proactive.

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1Install a camera
Digital camera technology is much more affordable and reliable than it used to be. A picture, or even a video, of suspicious activity is valuable evidence. Place your camera somewhere where it will not be noticed by a perpetrator, and set it up so that it captures the angle you want. Consider buying a camera that is motion-detected, which will save on recording time, and the amount of video you need to review if there’s ever an incident.

2Use ample lighting
One of the simplest things you can do is install and maintain good lighting. Security lights and motion-detected lighting can make a big difference, but make sure your lights are working and functioning properly.

3Post warning signs
If you want to restrict access to your property, make sure a sign is posted, and in a highly visible way. This includes signs about hunting, trespassing, biosecurity, dangerous dogs, etc. A sign can be a good defense, especially if someone chooses to ignore the sign.

4Carry enough insurance
The right amount of insurance will differ with each farm, but you need to consider the many ways you could be liable and at risk. This not only includes your possessions and personal property, but  also the transport and use of that property on roadways, on other properties, etc.

5Protect your computer
In addition to tangible personal property, you also have your farm records and financial data to safeguard. Remember to keep your passwords in a safe place, and when you lose an employee — even a good one — consider changing the passwords that employee may know. You also want to safeguard your computers with the latest virus protection, and avoid any obvious security risks.

6Report suspicious activity
If you see something that doesn’t look right, let someone know. It could be nothing at all, or it could be a valuable lead that helps prevent a future crime.

7Know personal care
Lastly, consider becoming CPR certified, and know basic first aid. While you hope to never need these skills, they are invaluable in an emergency. You never know when a family member or employee might suffer a heart attack, choke on something, or suffer an injury that you can attend to before help arrives.

Sources: Coshocton County Sheriff Tim Rogers, who spoke during a farmers’ breakfast Feb. 14; and Ben Peetz, agribusiness risk control consultant, who spoke during the Ohio AgriBusiness Association conference Feb. 1 in Columbus..

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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