Emergency Management

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Agriculture and Farm Operations

Farmers and others with agriculture related businesses can take steps to contain and deter both terrorism and crime threats. Depending on the size and nature of your farming operation, some of these steps will be more feasible than others. We list them all for you to review and hope that you will implement them as appropriate.

Be Alert

Watch for warning signs that your operation may be a target. Such signs can include:

  • An increase in requests for animal specific information or on-farm tours
  • Calls and letter questioning or criticizing your business or particular business practices
  • Any harassing calls and letter to you or a nearby operations
  • An increase in media attention to issues relating to the livestock industry
  • Local special interest group campaigns related to agriculture or livestock
  • An unusual increase in the number of people seeking employment
  • Surveillance of your facility, such as someone watching you activities, using cameras (still or video), drawing diagrams, or making notes on maps

Many of these activities, in and of themselves, may not indicate criminal activity. Taken together, however, they may be a cause for concern. If you observe people acting suspiciously, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

Protective Measures

  • Make security a priority at your facility and report any suspicious activities immediately to local police
  • Keep facility maps that indicate service shut-off locations, security areas and any other areas of sensitivity or vulnerability
  • Evaluate every request for information about your operation. Never agree to an unusual request unless you have verified its validity. Obtain as much information as possible – name, telephone number, address, reason for request, what the person will be doing with the information, who else has been contacted, etc. If anyone hesitates to cooperate with these requests, do not reveal information about or provide access to your operation
  • Ask for references. Make calls to verify that the person requesting any sensitive information is who he or she claims to be
  • Ensure that access to your facility is controlled. Require visitors to sign in and out upon entering and leaving the facility. Use visitor identification badges
  • Escort visitors at all times while they are on the premises. Employees should be instructed to report all unescorted visitors to management and/or security personnel immediately
  • Maintain basic security by locking office doors and file cabinets. Have firewalls installed on your computer systems. Consider maintaining separate business and personal computers
  • Keep potentially hazardous agricultural or animal health products secured
  • Use security lighting and alarms. Maintain fencing and gates. Post signs indicating restricted areas and no trespassing
  • Thoroughly screen all job applicants. Take the time to check all references
  • Develop a company statement concerning care, treatment and nutrition of your animals. Designate a spokesperson to handle all calls about animal care, animal rights, or any company policy concerning animals
  • Conduct routine tests of your security system and, if necessary, mock drills on your response procedures
  • Develop a crisis communication and action plan. Establish policies and procedures for handling disruptive and illegal situations, as well as for handling adverse publicity that might result. In developing response procedures, remember that steps to protect people should take a priority over steps to protect property

Contact Us

Polk County Emergency Management
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 286-2107

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