A recent string of cattle thefts in Missouri have cattle producers worried. Jim McCann, a rancher in Lawrence County, MO and president-elect of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association says the thefts seem to be planned ahead of time and are extremely organized. “They’ll even go in there and cut your lock off of your gates and put their lock on it,” he says. “If they know you’re not going in there every day, or if there is a set of corrals off the road somewhere, they’ll go back in and feed and get the cattle to come in there.” A few days later, McCann adds they’ll feed and then back the trailers in and load the cattle.
In another instance, he tells Brownfield a rancher stopped by his farm where a woman was pulled off the side of the road taking pictures. “The rancher went back by there later and noticed a piece of blue tape attached to the gate [where the lady was earlier] that wasn’t there earlier,” he says. “Then he noticed every place you could cross the ditch with a trailer [around the property] there was blue tape tied to the post where you could cross.”
McCann says in some cases they are cutting multiple fences and entering and exiting the property through different points.
Even though the sale barns have been watching for the animals, he says because Missouri isn’t a brand state – the cattle are more difficult to identify.