Security Solutions for Modern Agriculture Facilities: 8 Important Measures
Security is a crucial yet often overlooked consideration for modern agriculture facilities. While people most commonly associate crime with large cities, not the rural farmland, farms are popular targets.
A recent survey found that 81% of farmers have been victims of crime — many of them more than once. Trespassing, illegal hunting, livestock and equipment theft, and vandalism plague farms across the country. In light of these risks, here are eight important measures for agriculture security.
1. Security Cameras
One of the most useful security tools farmers can implement are security cameras. New technology has made this equipment smaller, more energy-efficient and affordable than ever before. Users can even use some systems to monitor cameras from their phones, providing quick and easy access to video feeds.
Many modern security cameras include automatic alert features, too. Farms can use these to alert workers when a camera detects something out of the ordinary, prompting them to investigate. These real-time warnings can help catch trespassers and thieves before they have a chance to escape.
Posting cameras in prominent, easy-to-see areas can help dissuade would-be criminals. Farmers that live near wooded areas may also want to install hidden trail cameras. These will help monitor predators like coyotes that may wander onto farms and endanger livestock.
2. Motion-Activated Lights
A similar solution that farms should implement is lighting, specifically motion-activated systems. A well-lit area is more likely to deter criminals, as they’ll know they won’t be able to sneak by unnoticed. Motion sensors take this a step further by catching trespassers in their tracks, scaring them off.
A sudden flash of light will likely make criminals feel they’ve been caught. This fear will probably drive them away, even if they still have time to do whatever they came onto the property for. If not, the light is still helpful, as it can improve camera resolution to aid subsequent investigations.
Using motion sensors to activate lighting also helps conserve energy instead of running lights around the clock. This efficiency can be a significant help since agriculture uses a considerable 1,872 trillion Btu of energy.
3. Alarm Systems
Automatic alarm systems are another security solution that all farming facilities should implement. Farms are massive properties, so it’s highly unlikely that a worker will be present to notice every hazard or crime as it happens. Modern sensor technology helps fill those gaps, enabling faster responses.
Farms can use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to monitor for movement, equipment damage, smoke, fire and other hazards. These wirelessly accessible devices can then send real-time alerts to workers’ phones when they detect something out of the ordinary.
Some alarms, such as those connected to motion detectors, should also include audible ringing. Loud noises can help deter criminals or scare away predators that have snuck onto the farm.
4. Vehicle Barriers
Farm security should account for more than criminals and wild animals on foot. Vehicles also pose a threat. Criminals could drive over weak fences onto farmland, or a distracted driver could veer off the road and into crops or expensive machinery. Vehicle barriers can stop these threats.
Road barriers fall into two main categories: active and passive. Passive obstacles like fences and walls are excellent for perimeter security, preventing all access. Active versions move to accommodate authorized traffic, letting the right people in and keeping everyone else out.
Agriculture facilities need both kinds of barriers. Passive versions can surround most of the farm’s perimeter, while occasional active ones allow access points for workers and business partners.
Larger facilities or those with a higher risk of crime and damage may consider drone security. Regular patrols can notice anything suspicious and deter potential criminals who may be inspecting the property. However, a large farm has too much ground to cover for humans to be effective. Drones provide a solution.
Despite its relative newness, the agricultural drone market is already worth $32.4 billion. This fast market growth means that farms today have a wide array of surveillance drones to choose from.
Many security drones are autonomous, letting farms send them along a predefined route with minimal intervention. Workers can check footage from their phones, and image recognition systems can alert them of anything suspicious.
6. Backup Generators
Backup generators may not immediately seem like a security measure, but they are crucial to agriculture security. Loss of power can jeopardize other systems, shutting lights off, downing electric fences and blacking out cameras. The rural areas farms inhabit may also be at higher risk since trees are responsible for most power outages.
Backup generators ensure that farms can maintain their regular operations if the grid experiences a disruption. That’s particularly important at night when a lack of light and security cameras could make it harder to spot and deter intruders.
Large farms may need several independent backup power systems for different areas. A facility that can’t provide this should prioritize the most sensitive and critical.
7. Asset Tags
Reliable security also includes mitigation strategies if an event does occur. One of the most important steps in this area is to tag assets like tools, vehicles and heavy equipment. Marking property helps locate stolen items and prevents criminals from reselling them, making them less valuable targets.
Asset tags should be unremovable or at least difficult to remove for them to be effective. Engraving, etching and branding are better options than paint for that reason. They should also be immediately noticeable to help spot stolen property sooner.
Location tags are ideal for more valuable equipment. These wireless devices can send their location to workers’ phones, helping them track down and recover lost or stolen assets. Most commercial options use Bluetooth, with ranges of around 400 feet or less, but GPS trackers are ideal because they have no range limit.
8. Safety Audits
Farms should perform regular safety audits regardless of what other security measures they have in place. These checks will help uncover blind spots they’ve missed and reveal ways to improve.
Agriculture facilities can either perform these inspections themselves or hire a professional. Professionals will come at a cost, but they’ll be able to provide more help, given their expertise. Some may even make recommendations based on the latest available solutions, helping farm security stay as up to date as possible.
Without these audits, farms may have holes in their defenses and not know about them. Holding them regularly is critical to staying safe.
Agriculture Security Is Crucial
Farming is a big business involving many high-value assets. Farms may become more tempting targets as more people realize this, so agriculture facilities must improve their security. Agricultural facilities that implement these eight steps can keep their equipment, workers, crops and livestock safe.
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