This article may not be about high crimes and espionage, but it is about unscrupulous practices some animal rights and animal welfare groups use to obtain damaging videos about animal treatment. While so far their attacks have been on livestock producers, grain farmers have a lot at stake too. Livestock producers and their animals is still the number one customer for Indiana grain farmers. It's why the Indiana Soybean Alliance is a key sponsor of the Livestock, Forage & Grain Forum coming up on Feb 27 in Indianapolis.
Recently, several farm groups in Indiana put together a joint statement with recommendations and caution tips for farmers who might be hiring and/or supervising workers, particularly in large livestock and poultry operations. While your grandfather may have never dreamed of having to play such cloak-and-dagger games on the farm, he likely never encountered the likes of the Humane Society of the United States and splinter groups, or other off-the-beaten paths which seem out to destroy production agriculture as we know it today in the U.S.
These farm groups urge farm owners and managers to adopt thorough hiring practices. Make sure they are intensive enough to identify someone who might be seeking a job there for nefarious reasons. In other words, he only wants the job to get an opportunity to see what goes on in the f arm, and shoot video for one of these groups to use as a further attack on the ag industry.
Here is a list of areas where leaders of these farm groups believe farm owners and managers who hire and manage employees should review how they're operating their operation. First, make sure you have office and plant security. It may have seemed ridiculous even 20 years ago, but not today.
Don't be bashful about employee screening, and make sure you offer employee training, then have an employee accountability program.Also, respond to letters you might receive from activists, don't just consider them junk mail. Talk with local law enforcement about potential problems. Also review your skills related to talking to the media. If an incident occurs at your farm, are you prepared to represent your operation and agriculture we'll in front of the camera, or to a news person with pen and tape recorder in hand?