Farms on alert following copper thefts

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As of Tuesday, no arrests had been made in the theft of copper from center-pivot irrigation systems in Nebraska.

At least two farms in Lincoln County, Neb., have reported thefts of copper from irrigation pivots in the past six to eight weeks, according to Sgt. Dan Newton, with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. He said he is aware of a couple of other thefts in adjacent countries.

To deter thefts, Newton advises farmers to report any suspicious activity.

And, “we’re saying to park the pivots away from the road so they’re not seen at night,” he told Dairy Herd Management.

It is assumed by the people involved in the Nebraska cases that the thefts occurred at night.

Meanwhile, Georgia farmers, also plagued by the theft of copper from irrigation pivot systems, are investing in alarm systems. Read this story about the “Touch Me Not Irrigation Alarm System.”

This web site discusses a video security system for catching copper thieves. 

The California Farm Bureau Federation offers these tips to reduce the risk of thefts and rural crimes: 

  • Make sure there is proper lighting around storage areas and buildings.
  • Keep a record of who has keys to your locks.
  • Order only the supplies you need or will use right away.
  • Provide employees with a communication system so they can quickly report suspicious activity.
  • Lock and remove keys from all company vehicles when they are not in use.
  • Always know who is on your property.
  • Properly fence property and storage areas using a tamper-resistant lock.
  • Talk to neighbors about suspicious people and vehicles.
  • Block the entrances and private roads that lead into orchards, vineyards and other fields.
  • Make access to your property as difficult as possible to outsiders.
  • Keep an accurate and up-to-date inventory of all equipment and major supplies so you know what you should have and what may be missing.
  • Set up a system to routinely check your property for damage, vandalism and theft.
  • Report any criminal or suspicious activity immediately.
  • Make it a policy not to give combinations or keys to anyone who is not involved with your company.
  • Ask all delivery personnel not to leave packages or supplies without first contacting a designated employee.


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David Kuffel    
Barron County Wisconsin  |  May, 12, 2011 at 08:48 AM

This is an excellent article with good ideas to prevent crime in the rural areas. Wisconsin has also been affected by theft in regards to irrigation equipment and other "scrap" materials. With the rising gas costs we also encourage farms to secure gas barrels and other large fuel storage tanks including on tractors. Sincerely, Detective David Kuffel, Barron County Sheriff's Department.

Jimmy Scatina    
USA  |  March, 04, 2014 at 03:44 PM

Interested in learning more about agricultural theft solutions? Check out www.netirrigate.com


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