Small homesteads and farms, as well as large ranches, can be particularly vulnerable to malicious activity. In fact, according to Modern Farmer, farmland is exposed to a wide range of criminal acts including trespassing, theft, and the slaughtering of livestock such as cows, chickens, goats, and even horses. Protecting these vital resources ensures that farmers are able to stabilize operations and reduce loss. Safety and security are extremely important for farmers; to keep your operations secure and productive, consider these farm security tips.
The good news is that not all security measures are drastic or expensive. Some require only a simple routine, and can be easily maintained by trusted employees and property managers.
1. Create Effective Barriers
In order to protect large farmland areas, it is important to ensure that adequate fencing lines the property’s perimeter. This prevents strangers from wandering onto the farm accidentally or with criminal intent. In addition to secure, locked fencing, consider adding extra barriers like electric fencing or barbed wire, particularly in areas that are more vulnerable to attack. Areas that are more secluded, such as forested land, are naturally easier for a person to sneak into without detection.
Shrubs, bushes, and trees are surprisingly often overlooked as physical deterrents. Natural barriers, like blackberry and rose bushes, hawthorn, and honey locust can act as effective gates. While those barriers may not stop intruders completely, they can make it more difficult for them to enter or escape unscathed.
2. Use Old & Broken Equipment in New Ways
If there are outdated pieces of hefty machinery lying around your farm, they may have a better use than simply sitting in place. Consider using unrepairable machinery, such as tractors or vehicles, as an additional fence line. If strategically placed, equipment that’s no longer operational can find a new function by helping prevent criminals from entering the property.
3. Keep Your Property Well Lit
Farm security tips usually involve installing property lighting protection. To avoid detection, criminals will often take action at night, when it's darker and harder to see suspicious activity. Installing lighting in various areas of the farm can help to dissuade a perpetrator from pursuing their original objective. Technology has now allowed us to use solar power for basic lighting equipment, which can also help cut down on expenses for securing farms and ranches.
Additionally, solar powered devices like various lighting systems can be augmented with automated systems and technology. Advancing technology allows for a more streamlined approach to maintaining various areas of a farm without manual adjustments. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can be programmed to trigger lighting with certain field detections.
4. Install Security Tags on Your Equipment and Vehicles
Keeping track of property is another important component of securing a farm. There are various options available to track equipment that are both inexpensive and sufficient to pinpoint items using GPS.
5. Installing a Security System
One of the best farm security tips is actually installing an effective and reliable security system. While it may seem like a large investment upfront, it can save tens of thousands of dollars in security costs every year. Security doesn’t have to be overwhelming or logistically difficult. For instance, security systems offered by Twenty20 include:
Self-contained surveillance solutions
Portable, trailer-mounted systems
DIY installation systems
Furthermore, systems like those offered by Twenty20 Solutions offer 24/7 automated monitoring and automation options through our Novus IoT platform. AI-enabled security systems can offer key data that reduce false positives on any unusual activity. In turn, farmers can save time and energy that would have been spent looking through hours of footage.
Problems Associated with Farm Security
The problem with most remote locations is, logistically, it’s next to impossible to create barriers that adequately dissuade criminals from trespassing or carrying out other criminal acta. Farmland often sprawls hundreds if not thousands of acres, making effective security measures seem close to impossible. If security measures are taken, farmers can become inundated with planning and implementing systems and maintaining them long term. In addition to being costly, the return may not seem well worth it. However, leaving property exposed to criminals is detrimental to livelihoods and even safety.
In addition to physical threats, farmers now face cybersecurity threats. According to the FBI, as the agriculture sector continues to adopt technological solutions into its operations, it has become increasingly vulnerable to hacking attempts, such as ransomware attacks. Farm operators will need to adopt strong cybersecurity practices as the industry modernizes and becomes more intertwined with technology.
Moving products during harvest is yet another factor to consider. Organizing, storing, and loading produce and other food crops, dairy, and meat products can be expensive and taxing. Twenty20's solutions can assist with the monitoring of temperatures, video of product, and other aspects that product movers must consider.
Cost of Securing Farmland
Many community farmlands are stricken with significant loss annually simply because farmland can be hard to protect. Layout and the natural structures of rural areas means expansive properties that are often difficult to manage. Recognizing the long-term economic, environmental, and social costs of this loss reinforces the importance of protecting it.
However, the cost of farmland security can be cumbersome. Farm profits are projected to drop by 4.5% in 2022 compared to 2021, according to the USDA. In response, farmers continue to look for new methods of reducing annual spending and losses.
As farms and ranches grow in size, they tend to incorporate more expensive machinery and equipment to maintain day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, these valuable items can be difficult to protect around the clock and are a particular target for criminals. Crime, in general, is becoming more frequent in the farming industry.
Technological advancements continue to shift the security industry. With disruptive software and systems, farmers are better equipped to safeguard their assets. New technology is designed to protect areas even in remote locations that may be marked off-grid. Reducing overhead expenses such as electrical costs and other power resources is no longer necessary. Through solar powered and other sustainable practices, security systems can remain in place long-term with little to no maintenance required.
Twenty20's Smart Security Solutions
For years, Twenty20 has been providing automation and security solutions for farms, homesteads, and ranches. Since Twenty20's systems can operate seamlessly through solar power, our security technology effectively serves remote areas and rural locations where farms are typically located. Additionally, farmers, property owners or managers can tap into video surveillance and data analytics from our simple-to-use Novus™ platform from anywhere. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you secure your farm and assets.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Farm Sector Income & Finances: Highlights From the Farm Income Forecast, December 1, 2021.