Rustlers! Seriously? | Livestock

When you hear the word “rustler” your mind can’t help but conjure up images of riders on horseback lurking on the brushy outskirts of some prairie waiting for the moment to strike out and cut one, two, or thirty head of prime beef from the drovers taking the herd to the railhead for shipment “back east”.Like robbers, murderers, embezzlers and any other type of criminal you can think of that existed in the days of old and that our society is plagued with still, rustlers too exist today and are the cause of millions of dollars worth of loss to our nation’s farmers and ranchers.One reason why stealing cattle is lucrative is the high prices generally received for livestock. Many readers who own small herds or even a single milk cow may feel they have little to nothing to fear as some producers have lost truckloads of animals worth $250,000 and more in a single incident. But if you have only four head of cattle and lose two to a thief, then you have just lost 50% of your herd. So you will indeed be bothered with losses of one or two animals at a time, particularly if it occurs over the course of several months.The National Cattlemen’s Association indicates that livestock theft is likely the most significant crime that occurs in rural America. The primary reason for their stand on this issue is that not only do cattle producers incur significant financial loss as a result of the expenses put into the animals and the lost potential revenue from their sale, there is also the loss of future breeding herds and significant bloodlines.Another major concern that is seldom considered is the fact that many stolen cattle are then sold with fraudulent health certification and disease tracking records. This single issue presents an incredible risk to the both domestic and international trade from the US. A single diseased calf, stolen and then sold may have not only contaminated the herd from which it was stolen, but now too the animals with which it has been placed until it can be sold.A concern for many of us that own small herds or one or two animals that we intend to raise for our own sustenance is the theft of an animal intended for the same purpose which we had in mind for it (placing next to our homegrown potatoes, beans and carrots). The economy crisis that our nation faces has greatly intensified the level of desperation for many. That is no excuse in my book because stealing is stealing regardless of the cause or reason. Ask me and I’ll feed you, steal from me and you go to jail if caught.Many of you, like me have a small piece of land in comparison to the ranchers previously mentioned who may have to travel 11 or more miles to check his mail never leave his boundary line. Those of us who maintain small acreage have an advantage when it comes to accounting for and keeping a closer look-out on our livestock. I know how time consuming and labor intensive raising livestock can be, but too often when the chores are done, it is “out of sight-out of mind”. So to ensure that you don’t become a victim of the “yeller bellied scoundrel rustler” or at least lessen the likelihood, let us consider some measures we can take to protect our investment.What you can doLike any security measure, your efforts should attempt to accomplish three things:Deter- Implement measures that will cause a potential thief to look for an easier target. Make his risk higher than his potential gain.
Delay- Don’t make it easy for him. Lock or block gates and livestock shelters. Keep your fences and gates in good repair. Gate hinges should have a cap put on them so that they cannot be easily lifted off the hinges.
Detect- Lighting is very important in both deterring and detecting thieves. Stand-by lighting (often referred to as motion sensor controlled) is considerably cheaper than in the past and it reduces cost in terms of maintenance and utility fees. Additionally, alarms whether store bought or tin cans tied to a fence or gate are worth the investment if it saves you just one head of beef. Another plus is that many electronic devices are now solar powered or can be powered by a solar source.Another option that can assist you in accomplishing all three of the above in addition to being a great addition to the family is a dog. I know very little about dogs other than I like them tremendously and they tend to raise a pretty loud alarm anytime something is out of the ordinary or if he/she gets a whiff of something or someone that doesn’t belong. And they work cheap!Don’t rule out geese or guineas, both of which really know how give a rowel when disturbed.Walk your property and consider it from the thief’s point of view. If you were going to steal your livestock, consider where, when and how you would go about doing it and check your livestock on a daily basis if you can. Check the fields, and fences where the animals are grazing, especially if you live anywhere near a stockyard/stock auction and there is a scheduled sale coming up to ensure suspected losses are recognized and reported to the police as soon as possible.Pay particular attention to any fields or pastures that border roadways. Make sure that you locate livestock pens or loading ramps away from these public roads or main entrances to your property and keep them locked when not in use and ensure loading ramps are stored out of sight when not in use.Be active and visible on your property and leave evidence such as tire tracks demonstrating that you check your fields frequently.Always be aware of strangers or unfamiliar vehicles in your area. When my wife and I first moved to our place in the country, I made a conscious effort to see how many vehicles I noticed traveling down the road in front of our home. I counted only nine and am sure I didn’t miss many as I was working close to the road most of the day. It would be relatively easy for me to take notice of people who are out of place, don’t belong or are suspicious. So if you notice a suspicious person or vehicle, write down their license plate number and all other relevant information and notify your neighbors.I cannot stress enough the benefit of neighbors looking out for neighbors. I know we may not always agree with the politics, ideals or other characteristics of those who live on the other side of our boundary lines, but if on no other issue we can agree to watch out for each other when it comes to crime prevention, we will obtain a higher level of security and peace of mind. If you have two or more incidents where someone has accessed your property, notify your neighbors and ask them to be on the lookout for the same thing happening to them.Talk with your neighbors, tell them when you are away from your property and where you can be reached.Reporting a theftIf you realize you are a victim of livestock theft, report the incident immediately to law enforcement. Some believe it is a waste of time because a theft is so very difficult to prove, or the amount of time between the crime discovery and when it actually occurred. However, the police or sheriff’s office needs to be alerted of the theft, even if some time has passed and regardless of the number of stock missing. There may be a pattern of crime in the area or region and the more information they have, the higher the likelihood is of catching the perpetrators.When reporting a livestock theft:Do not disturb anything in and around the area involved until the officers arrive.
Do not allow people or animals in and around the area or in areas where entry was possibly made.You will need to provide the officers with an accurate description of your animals including:The breed, age, and sex of your animals
The type of identification used and the numbers
Where the livestock was located
When you last checked on themEvery rural agency, office or association emphasizes the importance of livestock identification and accurate farm records for tracing stolen livestock. Often times, officers are provided training to better equip them for investigating these types of crimes, especially in rural areas. Identifying your livestock is absolutely essential for the return of the stolen livestock, and the eventual conviction of the offenders. There can be several witnesses to a livestock theft, but without positive identification, the thief will never be prosecuted. Identifying your livestock can be accomplished by using ear tags, earmarks, tattooing, branding, etc.Some states require that brands are registered in the state and it may even be illegal to brand livestock without registering first! So if this is a route you want to consider, make sure you check the laws of your state before you begin the process.While it won’t prevent or even deter theft, to better make claim for your animals should they be recovered, you should take photographs of your livestock with any brand and/or ear tag clearly visible with some aspect of your farm, such as a building shown in the picture.”These people were organized and sophisticated,” They had to know how to get across my neighbor’s place and into my pastures. They rounded up my cattle without making much noise; probably with dogs. And they went back out the same way they came in. They’re pretty slick.”Bob Herndon, Christian County, MOLost $18,000 worth of livestock overnight!

Fashion Flashback: Best Trends of 2012 | Fashion

As a fashion college student, you know better than nearly anybody else how quickly trends in the fashion industry can come and go. One accessory might be all the rage in winter, only to become the biggest laughingstock of the spring. The ins and outs of the fashion industry are so hard to keep track of in fact, that the few designers, photographers, fashion magazine editors and stylists that make it big in the business, are often considered gifted for being able to so skillfully keep their fingers on the pulse of fashion. Even the most hard-working of all students attending fashion colleges will accept the fact that they will not necessarily make it that far up the fashion totem pole… However, despite that fact, one shouldn’t let themself be fooled into thinking that fashion trend analyses are only for the industry’s elite. Just to prove that fact, here’s our short list of some of the year 2012′s best fashion design trends.From red carpets, to runways, to regular old street shoes, there was no shortage of platforms in the year 2012. In the world of high fashion, Italian designer Miuccia Prada sent her models down the runway in futuristic, socked space slippers, many standing on sky-high platforms. On city sidewalks all over, fashion school students rocked 1920′s style oxfords with psychedelic platforms added for extra effect. Either way, there was surely no doubt about it; platform shoes were a defining footwear trend in 2012.One thing’s for sure about this last year in fashion: it’s been full of flirtatious, feminine accents! For instance, peplum dresses, skirts, tops and jackets could be seen all over, paired with heels OR flats. Sheer, wide-knit sweaters and see-through lace tops were dressed up and down, and sky-high stilettos have never been more in style. Fresh-faced models have never looked so girly, and the streets proved that the trend had caught on all over the place.The uber-feminine trend was not the only statement to magically materialize within the bounds of the fashion industry. This last year, the fashion-forward delighted in mixing it up by color-blocking, and mix-and-matching the brightest, boldest colors and prints. Leave it to the fashion industry to speed up the pace just when things look like they’re getting boring…Contributing to the futuristic fashion themes of the year 2012, was the theme of gender ambiguity. From perfectly-tailored pant suits and tuxedo blazers, to skirts for men, professional designers of all kinds and fashion design college kids alike experimented with this boundary-pushing, playful design trend.As we say goodbye to 2012, we look forward to a whole new year full of cutting-edge fashion trends!

What You Need to Know About Real Estate Investing | Real estate

Are you interested in making a living as a real estate investor? If you are, your career and your financial future will rely heavily on your real estate investing skills, knowledge, and actions. If you have yet to quit your current job, to enter into real estate investing, you will want to continue reading on before doing so.When it comes to real estate investing, there are many hopeful investors who think that it is easy to make money as a real estate investor. Yes, it can be easy, but it isn’t always. Real estate investing is a risky business. Real estate markets, all across the country regularly change; therefore, you aren’t given any guarantees. That is why it may be a good idea to start out small, by only purchasing one or two real estate properties first. This will give you the opportunity to determine if you can be successful with real estate investing and without having to go broke finding out that you can’t.Although real estate investing is considered a risky business, there are steps that you can take to improve your chances of making money with it. Perhaps, the most important thing that you can do is educate yourself about real estate investing. Be sure to focus on more than just real estate investing in general. Be sure to learn about foreclosure properties, fixer upper properties, becoming a landlord, and such. Unfortunately, too many hopeful investors mistakenly believe that real estate investing simply involves buying real estate, but it is more than that. To be a successful real estate investor, this is a fact that you must not forget.When it comes to familiarizing yourself with the many components of real estate investing, you will see that you have a number of different options. For instance, there are a number of online websites that aim to provide internet users to free information on real estate investing. There are also printed resource guides or real estate investing books that can be purchased. For more detailed information with a professional spin, you can take a real estate investment training course or class, many of which are held by successful real estate investors.As it was previously mentioned, to make a successful career out of real estate investing, you need to be able to do more than just buy and sell properties. When it comes to real estate investment properties many properties are repaired or updated and then rented out. Most commonly the landlord in charge of making all decisions is the property owner or the investor, which could be you. For you to make money in that aspect, you would need to make sure that all of your houses or apartments were filled with tenants. Do you know how you would go about doing so? Better yet, do you think that you could do so? If not, real estate investing may not be right for you.The above mentioned points are points that you will want to take into consideration before quitting your current job and banking on the real estate market. Yes, real estate investing is a great way to make money, but it isn’t for everyone. Your first step should involve determining whether or not it is right for you.