Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., and Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association (LCA) President Jack Cutshall announced a new plan called the Livestock Producer Protection Program that will help fight theft on the farm.
“Livestock and equipment theft is a serious issue in rural Louisiana ,” Strain said. “The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is committed to protecting our producers’ investments, and by partnering with LCA, we hope to prevent theft instead of just investigating it.”
Livestock producers will complete a farm inventory and a LDAF premises identification registration form available from either LCA or LDAF’s Louisiana Brand Commission. The producer will retain the inventory form for reference in case of a theft. Once participants complete the enrollment process, “Livestock Producer Protection Program” signs will be provided by the LCA and/or the LDAF to warn would-be thieves that the farm is enrolled in the program.
Louisiana livestock producers are eligible to sign up with the LDAF and membership is free. Enrollment with LCA is for members only and requires a nominal fee.
Cutshall said warning signs that read, “Member Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association Protected” are available exclusively for LCA members.
“The best defense against theft is a good offense,” Cutshall said. “We are making a concerted effort to make it hard to sell stolen livestock and agricultural equipment.”
Strain said LDAF Brand Commission inspectors investigated 267 complaints and recovered or accounted for property valued at $1,570,540 in 2009.
LDAF Livestock Brand Commission Director Carl Bennett said having information provided through the program will help law enforcement quickly identify the stolen property.
“Time is not on your side when investigating a crime,” Bennett said. “One problem investigators commonly face is getting an accurate description of the stolen equipment. Victims frequently haven’t kept their records up to date so key information is not available.”
Strain said the program is patterned after a Texas model that has been very successful.
The Texas program has been in place since the 1940s.
The Livestock Producer Protection Program is fully funded through a LDAF animal disease traceability grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
“We believe the signs alone will be a deterrent,” Strain said. “When participants do experience theft, LDAF investigators will now be armed with vital information that will aid in the recovery of stolen items.”
For more information, contact the LDAF Livestock Brand Commission at 225-925-3962 or the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association at 225-343-3491.