By Farm & Food Care Ontario
Think fast: You walk outside in the early evening and find three people you don’t know standing outside your barn. When they see you approach, they say they were out for a walk in the country, and they didn’t realize they were on private property. They apologize and leave quickly. After they leave, you notice a tool is missing, but you can’t be certain when you last saw it. What do you do?
Many farmers are no strangers to best practices for farm safety and biosecurity, but they fall down when it comes to security on the farm. New this summer, Farm & Food Care Ontario partnered with The Ontario Federation of Agriculture to create an online resource, The Practical Guide to On-Farm Security. The resource, written with Ontario farmers in mind, speaks to everyday best practices Ontario farmers can use on the farm to keep the farm and assets safer.
In the case of the three unannounced visitors found near the barn, ask yourself, do you have no trespassing signs visible at every entry to your property? Have you investigated free services through your local police department such as programs that offer etchers on loan so you can etch your identification onto important tools? Do you have working locks on your buildings and equipment to keep unwanted visitors out? Do you have the phone numbers of your neighbours, and do you know them well enough to let them know you encountered some individuals on your property you may classify as “suspicious?”
The Practical Guide to On-Farm Security is divided into three main sections to make it easy to use: “Securing your assets,” “Visitors on the farm,” and “When to call police.” Sample forms such as a visitor log and incident report are also available for download, and offer suggestions of key pieces of information police will ask when responding to a security incident on a farm.
Both the OFA and Farm & Food Care Ontario will promote the resource to members at upcoming events, and they invite feedback and additional security questions from farmers. To access A practical guide to on-farm security visit http://ofa.on.ca/issues/overview/onfarm-security.
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of Growing Forward 2 in Ontario.