Ag thefts boom, farmers and county leaders meet to curb trend - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Ag thefts boom, farmers and county leaders meet to curb trend

SCOTT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

It's a crime that can happen to just about anyone, but Scott County, Missouri farmers have been getting hit the hardest recently.

According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, thefts of things like copper wire, batteries, and equipment are on the rise in Scott County.

On Tuesday night, there was a public meeting at the courthouse. The county commissioner said it was all about curbing this trend that's been costing farmers, and others who live in the country, thousands of dollars.

“Two pivots, tractor monitor,” Patrick Seyer said that what's been stolen from his farm in recent months.

Seyer said the thefts have really added up.

“We've been hit since October for a dollar amount of over 30,000 dollars,” Seyer said.

From pivot wire to equipment batteries, he said thieves will take about anything to make a buck.

“The pivot wire, they probably get about four to five hundred dollars out of it. It costs us somewhere around ten to 12 thousand dollars to rebuild it,” Seyer said.

From thefts to vandalism, farmers say the financial strain right here before planting season is the last thing they need.

“Some neighbors that I know have had their tractors sitting out on the farm and they've taken them out on joy rides. People come out and take them on joy rides, turning them over in ditches,” Seyer said.

However, not only farmers are concerned about the growing problem.

“It not only impacts farmers or ranchers, homeowners that have a car or a truck that live in a rural part of Scott County,” County Commissioner Jamie Burger said.

Burger said finding a simple solution, isn't easy.

“The acres are tremendous. So, to actually police every area, is virtually impossible,” Burger said.

He and Seyer agree, even though thieves may not be making much out of what they're taking, the driving force behind it is beyond their control.

“In any community, we seem to have drug issues and I think people are looking for dollars,” Burger said.

“The value they're getting out of it is very minimal,” Seyer said.

That's why county leaders, along with the Missouri Farm Bureau, hosted a public meeting to talk about things we can all do to stop the trend.

“It's bound to slow it down. If the public are aware, maybe other people will say ‘hey, these people are starting to look out for each other and we better just stay away from them,'” Seyer said.

The commissioner says these types of thefts usually rise even more when farmers start spring planting. He said they decided to hold the meeting now to stop the thefts before they got worse.

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