Grand Theft Agriculture
It probably come as no surprise that agricultural crime is on the rise. Farmers and ranchers across the country find themselves not only have to combat the weather and government regulations, but the growing thefts of machinery, (scrap metal prices make new and old machinery a tantalizing target), beehives, livestock, and now hay. True, the majority of thieves are no where near well enough equipped to make off with very many of the huge bales, but it won’t be long before enterprising thieves figure out a way to make off with more. And right now when a large percentage of the nation’s farmers and ranchers have been hit hard from the drought, or from wildfires $2 to $5 hundred dollars of hay gone missing can be quite an additional hardship. It’s hard to tell one bay of hay from another so some farmers are “branding” their hay, marking bales with paint, weaving ribbons through them or even putting a tracking device inside the bales. Most farmers and ranchers aren’t able to go to the expense of tracking devices however. For now, padlocking gates, marking bales, and being on guard will have to suffice against “grand theft agriculture”.