Feed Lot

APR-MAY 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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12 FEED•LOT  April/May 2017 MANAGEMENT By JILL J. DUNKEL I t seems to be getting more common. A few cows end up missing from some- one's pasture. A trailer disappears in the middle of the night. Or even loads of yearlings are shuf- fled around only to leave someone 100 head short at shipping. Livestock and livestock-related thefts are a century-old problem, but it seems like there are more and more stories on the news. Some thefts are elaborate schemes that bilk thou- sands of dollars from an unsuspecting victim while others are a crime of opportunity. The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association employs Spe- cial Rangers who are law enforcement officers that fight livestock and agriculture-related theft. One ranger, Scott Williamson of Seymour, Texas, said one way to reduce your chance of becoming a victim is employing common sense. "It's the old adage, if it's too good to be true, it likely is," he said. "If you don't know who you're dealing with, make sure to get some references." Livestock theft can happen any time, but Williamson said cattle transactions, e s p e c i a l l y t h o s e o v e r the phone or over the In- ternet, can be problematic if you don't know the other individual involved in the sale. "As people are trying to restock cows, we are run- ning into problems where they are buying cattle over the internet, agreeing to take delivery based on photos. Then either the cattle are not represented accurately, or they are never delivered." Williamson said it's the buyer's responsibility to make sure you know what you're buying. "Be diligent. Inspect those cattle, or have an agent you can trust to do that for you." So much of business in agriculture is done on a hand shake, he said. "Agriculture is still an integrity-based business. Don't get caught up in what you always did, because times have changed." Williamson encouraged cattlemen to take more caution in dealing with people, and be very, very careful in dealing with someone you don't know. When it comes to general livestock or property theft, he said to have a crime watch mentality. "Everyone of us have cell phones. We can recognize when something isn't right. If a strange truck is in the pasture, or gates don't look like they should, immediately take the time to pick up the phone and make sure it's okay." He said tips or little things people notice or recog- nize as irregularities all help in an investigation. "All the little pieces of information are required to make a criminal case," he explained. Other theft prevention tips from the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association include: • Lock gates. • Brand cattle and horses. Make sure the brand is recorded with the county clerk. • Put driver's license number on all saddles, tack and equipment. • Video horses and tack. Keep complete and accurate descriptions on file. Establish an organized, easy-to- find proof of ownership file to save valuable time in recovery process. • Count cattle regularly. • Don't establish a routine when feeding. Vary the times you feed. • Be cautious about who gets keys and combinations. • If possible, park trailers and equipment where they are out of view from the roadway. • Keep tack rooms and saddle compartments on trailers locked. • Don't feed in pens. • Participate in neighborhood Crime Watch programs. • Don't build pens close to a roadway. • Never leave keys in tractors or other equipment. FL Sticky Fingers

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