As consumers become more interested in farming and housing developments continue to come closer to farms, unexpected visits from neighbors and curious drivers will continue to happen. Check out these tips on how to deal with unexpected visitors – and remember, sometimes these interactions may be positive!
Whether they are families stopping to pet calves or animal activists looking to damage the reputation of your farm and the dairy industry, unexpected visitors can be harmful. Below are some guidelines to follow, to prevent and react to unexpected visitors. Keep in mind the best way to avoid negative interactions is to ensure everyone on your farm is always using best practices.
Transparency is important with today’s consumer. Portraying a positive image of dairy farming is necessary. However, we understand that your farm is your business and farm operations are your priority. Choose and customize these recommendations to best fit your farm. You should be comfortable with the protocols you have in place for unexpected visitors on your dairy.
- Post signs making it clear that unexpected visitors are not allowed on the property. Signs should appear professionally made to convey the seriousness.
***Many vendors and nutrition companies will have signs available or they can be customized and ordered on the internet inexpensively.
- “No trespassing” signs at the dairy’s entrances and barn entrances
- Biosecurity signs informing people to remain off the property for the safety of the animals and themselves
- Customized signs combining these messages or perhaps offering contact information for curious individuals to schedule a tour or appointment
- Ensure animal care is up to standards you would always be proud to showcase
- Train employees how to interact with unexpected guests on the farm
- Contact the owner of the farm about the situation
- Do not leave the visitor alone
- Next steps for an employee to take should be determined by the farm owner/manager
- Install video surveillance in important areas
- Build a relationship with local law enforcement so they understand your farm’s needs
- Install a gated entrance or welcome center to your farm
When Unexpected Visitors Arrive
- Respectfully attempt to learn who they are and why they are there
- Politely ask them to leave and explain why it is necessary
- If they are taking pictures, take pictures of them
- Record license plate number and other characteristics about the vehicle and individuals
- If you feel threatened, call authorities
- Contact WDA’s Scot Dutcher at 720-498-5059 to report suspicious activity
- Register your home as a “no fly zone” with participating drone manufacturers
- Report to local law enforcement immediately
- Respectfully attempt to learn who is flying the drone and what they are doing
- Notify them that they are on private property and ask them to leave
- Film the people and their drones, but do NOT touch or shoot drones
- No Fly Zone: https://www.noflyzone.org/
- State and Regional Checkoff Organizations: http://www.dairy.org/local-checkoff
- Animal Agriculture Alliance: www.animalagalliance.org/
- Biosecurity Signs: http://bit.ly/compliancesigns
- Dairy Hub Crisis and Issues Training materials: http://bit.ly/HubCrisisIssues (not on the Hub yet? Email Erica at EPidor@westerndairy.org!)