Susan Kerr1 and Pam King2

1WSU Extension, 2UMD Extension retired

Is your farm protected against “everyday” crime? How about agroterrorism? The measures to take to protect your land and property from both types of crime are similar and well worth the effort to put in place. An effective plan should consider security of property as well as biosecurity issues. This checklist is not exhaustive; it should serve as a starting place for you to develop your own farm security plan.


Property Security

___ Effective gates and locks are in place and used wherever possible and monitored frequently

___ Keys are tagged, coded and kept in a secure area

___ Keys are never left in vehicles or equipment; vehicles are locked when not in use

___ Copies of keys are minimal and must be signed out

___ Locks are changed and keys recovered when employees are fired or leave

___ Watchdogs, video cameras, motion detection lights or other electronic monitoring devices are placed in strategic locations

___ The property is well identified for emergency personnel by reflective numbers on the mailbox post or other location

___ An emergency contact list is next to each phone and numbers are pre-programmed into cell phones. Numbers include fire, police, ambulance, veterinarian and poison control

___ An up-to-date farm map has been created that lists the contents at each location and highlights the location of objects of interest (chemicals, fertilizer, fuel, vehicles, livestock, etc.)

___ All chemicals are stored in a locked and weatherproof building and as recommended by the manufacturer’s label instructions

___ Adequate lighting is in place to permit work and deter theft or other crimes

___ Woodpiles, debris piles, brush and other potential hiding places are not located near buildings

___ Routine checks are conducted on cropland to monitor for evidence of unusual disease or damage

___ Simulations of emergencies have been conducted involving all family members and employees

___ Working fire extinguishers are in plain sight in numerous places. Employees know where they are and how to use them

___ Working fire alarms are in place and their batteries are replaced every six months

___ An on-site inspection by local fire department personnel has identified areas of concern and these have been addressed

___ An on-site inspection by a law enforcement professional has identified additional security issues and these have been addressed

___ Adequate insurance coverage has been purchased to cover theft, chemical spills, damage from vandalism, terrorist attacks or other coverage as recommended by a farm insurance agent

___ Vulnerable areas have been identified and deficiencies corrected



___ All animals are identified

___ All animals are inventoried frequently

___ Animals are monitored frequently for signs of illness or harm

___ Complete and accurate animal health records are maintained

___ Effective nutrition, vaccination and parasite control programs are in place

___ Additions to the herd are quarantined for at least 30 days before introduced to the herd

___ Sick animals are housed in an isolation area away from other animals. They are fed and treated after healthy animal chores are completed. Clothes and footwear are changed and disinfected after dealing with sick animals

___ Entry of personnel, including visitors, is controlled

___ Visitors must sign in and provide their address. International visitors may have restricted access to certain areas of the farm for disease control purposes.

___ Coveralls, plastic boot covers and/or boots are provided for approved visitors

___ Disinfectant is available and used on boots, tires and equipment

___ If equipment must be borrowed from neighbors, it is disinfected before and after use

___ Feed is stored well away from sources of contamination such as fuel, chemicals, etc.

___ Feed is protected from contamination by cat, bird and vermin feces

___ No mammalian-origin protein is fed to ruminants

___ All feed records are kept for at least five years

___ Fences and barns are well maintained

___ No fences are shared with neighbors

___ Separate equipment is used for feed and waste handling

___ Dead animals are necropsied then disposed of properly

___ Watering areas are not located close to roads or other areas with easy access by passersby

___ Crops and cropland is protected through controlled access, excellent fencing and frequent monitoring



___ Reference and background checks are performed on new employees

___ Up-to-date first aid kits and water flush bottles are located in numerous places on the property and everyone knows their location

___ Several people on the farm have first aid/CPR training

___ Common contacts’ names and contact information is complete, up-to-date and located so that others could find it in the event of the manager’s absence

___ Employees have appropriate pesticide handlers’ training and certificate

___ Employees and family members know how to monitor for security issues and what to do in the event of a security breach


Other Security Issues

___ Farm records are complete and accurate

___ Farm computers have up-to-date and effective anti-virus software

___ Property and equipment is monitored continually and suspicious activity is reported to law enforcement immediately


Farm Security Course

Do you want to learn more about farm security? Take the free online farm security course at and take an in-depth look at how to increase the security of your farm.