LSU AgCenter beef specialist offers tips to prevent cattle theft

News Release Distributed 04/21/11

With cattle prices at historical highs and many families struggling economically, cattle theft has the potential to increase, warns LSU AgCenter extension beef specialist Allen Nipper.

He said the loss of a few head could offset much of the profit a producer might expect to make in an entire year.

“Many law enforcement personnel say small-scale producers seem to be the most likely targets of cattle thieves because of lack of surveillance and ease of getting access to the cattle,” Nipper said. “However, everyone should be aware of the potential.”

Producers need to be proactive even if they are not aware of any theft problems in their local community, Nipper said.

Here are some of the tips he gives to cattle producers:

– Lock gates as a deterrent. Thieves normally look for easy “pickings.” Be careful giving keys or combinations to locks to others. If access is required by an energy company or hunting club, have them use a different lock. Require everyone to keep the gates locked.

– Put permanent identification on livestock.

– Put driver's license number in an inconspicuous place on all equipment and tack.

– Video animals and high-cost supplies on a routine basis. Keep complete and accurate descriptions of each item, including the location where the driver’s license number is written. Develop a file where all the items are organized in an easy-to-find format to save valuable time in reporting stolen items and recovering them. In addition, the information will be helpful if an insurance claim can be filed.

– Count livestock regularly as a quick inventory check.

– Don't establish a routine when feeding. Vary the time and location when you feed. When a producer works off the farm during the day and only feeds after work at the same time and in the same location, it provides an opportunity for thieves at all other times.

– Always try to store supplies, fuel and equipment, especially that which can be pulled with a vehicle, out of view.

– Keep storage rooms and fuel tanks as well as outside cabinets and compartments locked.

– Don't feed in pens. This establishes a routine for the cattle and allows the thieves to gather cattle more easily.

– Participate in a neighborhood Crime Watch program. If one is not available in your location, consider starting one or at least visit with the neighbors you trust to ask their assistance.

– Post warning signs like those available from the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association that indicate the farm is “protected.”

– If you plan to build barns, pens, corrals, etc., consider their accessibility to thieves.

– Never leave keys in tractors or other equipment.

– Park equipment that can be locked in such a manner to shield other equipment from being moved.

– Consider an electronic surveillance system. Prices of such systems have declined in recent years.

– Depending on the facility location, consider installation of night lights.

– If you discover thieves on your property, do not try to apprehend them. Contact local law enforcement.

– Report any agricultural crime as soon as possible to not only the local law enforcement personnel but also the Louisiana Brand Commission.

Nipper welcomes new names to add to his email notification list. He can be reached at 318-927-2578, or send an email to

Mary Ann Van Osdell
4/22/2011 1:55:36 AM
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