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8 Easy Ways to Prevent Farm Equipment Theft
Keeping your farming tools and equipment in good working condition is essential for maintaining your land — and protecting your livelihood. And, knowing that these valuable items are safeguarded will allow you to rest easy after a hard day's work. One way to have peace of mind that your equipment is protected is by insuring it. However, there are also some easy precautions you can take to ward off theft.
Here are some of the simple solutions that'll help keep the thieves away:
Don't make it too tempting. Just as you wouldn't leave your front door unlocked and wide open when you're not at home, you don't want to put your best farming equipment on display for any passersby to see. Keeping your farm equipment out of plain sight so that it's not easily visible and accessible from the road is probably the easiest way to avoid potential theft. It’s less likely that someone will invade your property without knowing what they have to gain from the risk.
Bonus tip: There's nothing like a barking guard dog to make someone think twice about sneaking onto your farm to get a look around.
Shine a spotlight on safety. Thieves often move in the cover of darkness, since it lessens the chance that they'll get caught. That's why installing motion-sensor security lights and timer lights that go on at sundown is an inexpensive but very effective way to scare trespassers off.
Lock it up. It might be tempting to leave keys in unlocked vehicles, but locking up your equipment is worth the extra few seconds of effort. Along those lines, locked fencing and gates can provide an added layer of security that might convince thieves to look for easier targets.
Put technology to work for you. Investing in security systems that detect motion and keyless-ignition devices makes it much harder for thieves to successfully make off with your gear. And, if you add GPS tracking onto your larger farming equipment, if they do dare take anything, law enforcement will be able to easily locate and retrieve your items.
Make it difficult. If you’re going to be off premises for a few days, it’s worth taking some extra precautions to secure your equipment. The more of a hassle you make it for potential thieves to take your stuff, the more likely your stuff will be there when you return home. Two ideas: remove vehicle batteries or wheels, or get wheel locks.
Keep meticulous records, just in case. It's always good practice to keep a file with makes, models, serial numbers, and photos of your farm equipment (and other precious possessions) in case you should ever have to file a report or put in an insurance claim. This information often helps people recover their items.
Join a farm watch program. Getting involved in your local community means that everyone looks out for each other. Some neighborhoods even have an organized watch in which people take turns patrolling the area. Ask around to find out if there is something like this in your area and join the team.
Mark up your items. Applying an owner applied number (OAN) (as Californians can do via the California Farm Bureau Federation) or registering your equipment is another way to ensure that your items can be identified should they ever be stolen. Thieves might also walk away if they see that your equipment is marked with a serial number, knowing that there is a greater chance of getting caught. Some farmers also paint their tools and tractors a bright color or use theft warning decals so that anyone driving or moving equipment off the property will be easily spotted.
Keeping your farm equipment safe just takes a bit of effort on your part, but it’s well worth it. By using a combination of the techniques above and connecting with an American Family Insurance agent to get customized farm equipment coverage, you’ll feel confident knowing that you’re doing all you can to protect yourself from the unexpected.
Keep reading for ways to protect your livestock from theft.