Protect Farm Equipment From Theft With Smart Devices

Smart devices can help prevent theft of farm equipment and alert you to trespassers on your property, so consider this farm tech to secure your homestead.

by Shelly Wutke
PHOTO: Shelly Wutke

Living on a farm means dealing with daily challenges. But one of the most distressing situations is when an intruder trespasses onto your property and steals your valuable farm equipment. Whether it’s ATVs, tractors or tractor attachments, farm equipment theft can cause a lot of headaches and hassle.

Insurance can cover some losses due to theft, but you will still need to spend time and energy filing insurance paperwork and replacing stolen items. Some types of farm equipment aren’t replaceable either, so prevention is key to avoiding this issue entirely.

One way to be proactive and minimize your risk of farm theft is to use smart devices to protect and monitor your property. While they can’t put a full stop to someone trespassing, they can alert you to intruders, light up dark areas, track your equipment, or help law enforcement crack down on thieves.

Here are a few ways you can use smart devices to be proactive and prevent theft on your hobby farm.

Add Smart Lights to Your Yard

Smart lights are (wired or wireless) light bulbs or light fixtures that are controlled by an app connected to your Wi-Fi network. There are smart motion lights with built-in cameras, bulbs you can add to your outdoor fixtures, and landscape lighting you can use to light up dark areas of your yard or add to your garage, barn or gate.

Depending on which smart lights you choose, you could add a bright motion light to the spot where your farm equipment is stored. Or you could set a timer for your lights to come on outside when it gets dark.

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Most smart lights are controllable from anywhere you are. You can turn lights on in your home or yard when you’re not there. They have motion detection so they will turn on if someone is nearby. Some even have two-way talk—if your lights detect motion, you can hear and speak to whomever is there.

Smart Cameras Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Farm Equipment

Smart cameras also detect motion, but these cameras can capture video of trespassers who may venture into your yard in search of farm equipment. If you have an issue with Wi-Fi reaching different areas of your property, you may want to opt for wired cameras that connect to a DVR and store your recorded footage. You can also opt for cameras that run on a cellular network so you don’t have to be in range of Wi-Fi to use them. They will connect just like a cell phone and record footage that’s stored in an app or on the camera’s micro-SD card.

A good rule of thumb when using smart cameras to protect farm equipment is to add it to the area where it is focused directly on your tractor, ATV or other implements. If possible, choose an out–of-the-way area for storing your equipment so it’s out of sight and you know no one will walk by and set off the camera’s motion sensors.

On your phone, be sure to set the app up so it has a unique notification tone that’s not the same as your ringer or your text notification tone. If motion is detected and you hear that sound, you’ll immediately know to open the app and find out who is there.

Add GPS Tags to Your Farm Equipment

Bluetooth tags and agricultural-specific GPS trackers are designed to help you locate lost items, and they can add a layer of anti-theft protection to your tractor or other farm vehicle. You can slide the tracker into an out-of-the-way spot or use a magnetic holder to keep it on the bottom of the vehicle.

Some trackers will alert you if your tractor is heading out of the driveway without your knowledge. Others will only detect when the tractor is nearby or if the thief’s phone picks up the tracker’s signal.

If you are very concerned about potential farm equipment theft you’ll want to choose a tracker with long battery life and the ability to track the equipment’s location with an app. That way, if you notice your tractor has been stolen, you can just open the app on your phone and share the location with police.

If your farm equipment is stolen, you should report the theft to your local police immediately. Even if you have a tracker on your equipment and know where it is, it’s safer to rely on law enforcement to locate and return your items.

Protect Your Farm & Your Farm Equipment

Smart devices are an easy and fairly inexpensive way to protect your farm equipment. Once everything is set up on your property, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can keep a watchful eye on your tractor, ATV and other implements from wherever you are.

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