At one time, the farm was viewed as a safe place to raise a family. However, in this day and age, there is no certain location in our world that is guaranteed safe from crime. Studies show that rural residents are ten times more likely to be a victim of a crime than they were twenty-five years ago.

People who make their lives on the farm must now take preventative steps to eliminate the losses that occur from the rising number of rural burglaries and thefts. Listed below are two programs that you can put to use on your rural farm and property that will enhance the security of your home as well as your equipment.

Equipment/Property Identification

All equipment and property should be marked individually and independently from the factory serial number. The most beneficial and successful type of marking would be the owner number system. The system utilizes a nine character code as follows.

The first two characters are the farmer’s initials. The next two characters would be the first two letters of the county in which the farm is located, followed by the two letter code for the state. The last three digits should be a numbering system for your equipment, starting with 001. For effective record keeping, you should follow a sequential numbering system.

Example: Farmer John Doe of Bollinger County, Missouri, has three tractors that he wants to mark. The number for the first tractor would be as follows:

Note: After you have numbered each piece of equipment on your farm, it is very important that you keep records of all pieces of equipment. The records should include both your owner-assigned numbers and the factory serial number. These numbers will assist the police in locating your property. Owner numbers should be embedded in the metal where possible. This will make it harder for the thief to destroy the number. A punch alphabet/number engraving is recommended for this system.

Agriculture Zone Security

To implement the agricultural zone security plan, the landowner surveys the property and identifies areas or zones that share common security problems.


  • Zone 1: This includes the outside limits or boundaries of the property. The owner can post " No Trespassing" and "Warning" signs, build barriers to prevent crop damage or equipment theft, and make sure gates are heavily secured to prevent easy access.
  • Zone 2: This includes outlying or remote areas. This zone may contain feed barns and storage sheds, both easy targets if unprotected. Expensive agrichemicals seem to be prime targets for thieves. They are easy to steal and even easier to see. Doors and windows should be made of appropriate materials and heavily secured. Any machinery in the area should be disabled or securely chained. Because many burglaries occur during the night, adequate exterior lighting should be installed. Finally, all property, including chemical cans, should be clearly marked with owner-assigned numbers.
  • Zone 3: The central work area of a farm or ranch along with the family home constitute this zone. Trees and shrubs should be trimmed to maintain good visibility. Equipment can be seen easily from the house and barn. Proper lighting will also deter break-ins.
  • Zone 4: This includes another attractive target for thieves: the central storage work area. The same rules apply here: marking property, securing doors and windows, and installing exterior lighting.