Farm Security Checklist

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery August 30, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

A man locking a gate.

Is your farm or ranch 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 property and biosecurity issues. This list isn't exhaustive, but it can serve as a starting place for you to develop your own farm security plan.

Want to know more? We offer a Farm Security Course that takes a more in depth look at how to increase the security of your farm.



▢  1.  Do you have insurance coverage that protects against theft, vandalism, pesticide spills and/or terrorist attacks on your farm?

  • Ask your insurance agent to walk your farm with you, assess your risks and review your coverage.

▢  2.  Is your 911 emergency address posted and easily visible on your mailbox or a post on the county or parish road?

  • Identify your property for emergency personnel with three-inch reflective numbers on the mailbox, post or other location.

   3. Do you have a permanently installed, well-hidden mailbox or lock box that serves as an emergency information box for emergency personnel? Do they know where it's located?

  • Items in the information box should include an up-to-date farm map, a list of emergency contact persons and their phone numbers, locations and amounts of hazardous chemicals safety data sheets, and a list of the major contents of each building.
  • Have the location of the information box entered into the computer database at your 911 dispatch center, and personally inform your local fire and police chiefs or sheriff.

   4.  Do you have a farm map with the contents of each building listed?

  • The map should include the contents at each location and identify vulnerable items such as chemicals, fuel, vehicles and livestock that someone might want to contaminate, steal or damage.

▢  5.  Are pesticides and farm chemicals stored in one location? Are they secure? Do you have an inventory?

  • All chemicals should be stored in a locked and weatherproof building and as recommended by the manufacturer’s label instructions.

   6.  Have you approached your local fire department about visiting your farm for a safety and security check?

  • You should have working fire extinguishers in plain sight in numerous places. Employees should know where they are and how to use them.
  • You should have working fire alarms in place. Replace batteries every six months.
  • An on-site inspection by local fire department personnel will identify areas of concern for you to address. Show them the locations of water mains, electricity control boxes, fuel and chemical supplies, your emergency information box, and livestock holding areas.

   7.  Have you asked a professional law enforcement officer to help identify security issues?

  • Remove wood piles, debris piles, brush and other potential hiding places near these buildings.

▢  8.  Do you have appropriate areas locked or gated? Are the locks, fences and gates in good condition? Do you regularly check for tampering? Do you have control of keys?

  • Install and maintain gates and locks, and use them whenever possible.
  • Never leave keys in vehicles or equipment.
  • Tag and code keys. Keep them in a secure place.
  • Keep the number of key copies to a minimum; sign them out when needed.
  • Recover keys and change locks when employees are fired or leave.

▢   9. Do you have lighting in the right places?

  • Install adequate lighting to permit work and deter theft or other crimes.
  • Light critical areas such as fuel tanks, grain bins and chemical storage areas.
  • Place videocameras, motion detection lights or other electronic monitoring devices in strategic locations.
  • Use watchdogs in appropriate locations.

▢   10. Do you have a prioritized list of contact names and numbers in case you are away from the farm or incapacitated during an emergency? Do your family members and employees have the list?

  • Place an emergency contact list next to each phone. Include fire, police, ambulance, veterinarian and poison control numbers.
  • Pre-program the emergency numbers into cell phones.



▢   11. Have you taken appropriate biosecurity measures to protect your animals? Do you have an inventory of your animals? Can you identify them?

  • All your animals should be identified. They should also be inventoried frequently.
  • Animals should be monitored frequently for signs of illness or harm.
  • Maintain complete and accurate animal health records.
  • House sick animals in an isolation area away from other animals. Feed and treat them after healthy animal chores are completed. Change and disinfect clothes and footwear after working with sick animals.
  • Implement and maintain effective nutrition, vaccination and parasite control programs.
  • Quarantine new animals for at least 30 days before introducing them to the herd.
  • Store feed well away from sources of contamination such as fuel and chemicals.
  • Protect feed from contamination by cat, bird and vermin feces.
  • Don't feed mammalian-origin protein to ruminants.
  • Keep all feed records for at least five years.
  • Use separate equipment for feed and waste handling.
  • Locate watering areas away from roads and other areas easily accessible by passersby.
  • Necropsy and properly dispose of dead animals.
  • Control personnel and visitor entries.
  • Require visitors to sign in and provide their addresses. To control disease, restrict international visitors' access to certain areas of the farm.
  • Provide coveralls, plastic boot covers or boots for visitors.
  • Use disinfectant on boots, tires and equipment.
  • If you borrow equipment, disinfect it before and after use.
  • Don't share fences with neighbors.
  • Maintain your fences and barns.

▢   12. Have you taken appropriate biosecurity measures to protect your crops and stored grain?

  • Conduct routine checks on cropland to monitor for evidence of unusual disease or damage.
  • Control personnel and visitor entry.
  • Require visitors to sign in and provide their addresses. To control disease, restrict international visitors access to certain areas of the farm.
  • Provide coveralls, plastic boot covers or boots for visitors.
  • Use disinfectant on boots, tires and equipment.
  • If you borrow equipment, disinfect it before and after use.
  • Don't share fences with neighbors.
  • Maintain your fences and barns.
  • Lock stored grain bins

Personnel and Other Security Issues

▢   13. Do your family members and employees know what to look for and what to report to the authorities to ensure farm security?

  • Walk around buildings and along fence lines to look for signs of trespassing and unusual activity.
  • Be aware of unfamiliar vehicles.
  • Family members and employees should report suspicious people, vehicles or activities to you.
  • Report suspicious people, vehicles and activities to local law enforcement officials.

▢   14. Are your employees trained to handle pesticides and operate equipment?

  • Provide opportunities for your employees to take appropriate training and certification courses such as pesticide handler training and certification.

▢   15. What security measures do you take when hiring new employees?

  • Perform reference and background checks on potential employees.
  • Train new employees on security and biosecurity protocols and be available to answer questions they might have.

▢   16. Do you have a well-stocked first aid kit and does everyone know how to use it? Is your first aid/CPR certification up to date?

  • Place up-to-date first aid kits and water flush bottles in numerous places on your property. Everyone should know where the kits are.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to take first aid and CPR training. Be sure everyone knows who is certified.
  • Update supplies as they are used and check expiration dates on medicines and topical ointments.

▢   17. Do employees know or have access to common contact information?

  • List routine business contacts and information in a convenient location so others can find it if you or your manager is absent.
  • Maintain an up-to-date phone and address list of your employees.

▢    18. Are your farm records complete, up-to-date and secure? Are your computers properly maintained and secured? Do you have current computer virus updates? Do you back up data frequently and store it on a secure site away from the farm or on cloud-based storage?

  • Ensure your records are complete and accurate.
  • Maintain a schedule for updating your farm computers with current anti-virus software.

▢   19. Do your family members and employees know what to do in case of an emergency?

  • Conduct regular simulations of emergencies. Involve all family members and employees.
  • Following a simulation, discuss what was effective and what could be improved.

▢   20. Do you have a farm security plan?

  • Use this checklist as a start for your plan.


Downloadable Farm Security Checklist

Want to be able to fill out this checklist on tablet, computer or on your phone? You can also print this checklist and fill it out by hand!


Farm Security Course

Do you want to learn more about farm security?  Take our free online farm security course!

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.