ACA promotes Theft Reward Program for stolen, destroyed cattle
In the wake of recent calf butchering occurrences on Lauderdale County cattle operations, the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association urges state cattlemen and cattlewomen to remember the Cattle Theft Reward member benefit.
The ACA offers a Cattle Theft Reward program that awards $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone stealing or destroying cattle on ACA member property. In order to qualify for the reward program, the following conditions must be met:
- The owner of the stolen/destroyed cattle must be a member in good standing of the ACA.
- One or more of the ACA “No Trespassing” signs must have been posted on the farm at the time of the offense.
- Applications for the award must be filed with the ACA within 30 days after the final conviction for the person stealing or destroying the cattle. The Executive Committee of the ACA will consider the applications, and its decision will be the final binding on all parties.
- The president of the county chapter in which the cattle were stolen must certify that all of these rules and regulations were complied with.
Law enforcement officers, stockyard employees or owners and part owners or employees of the cattle stolen or destroyed are not eligible for the reward.
Orland Britnell, of the Franklin County Cattlemen, said to his knowledge, Franklin County farmers have not had similar problems, at least not recently; however, he is thankful the reward program is in place.
“We have enough trouble as it is without someone coming in butchering or stealing our cattle,” Britnell said. “Everything is very expensive to try to grow cattle – the feed, hay and medicine and all.”
The ACA offers tips to its members that help deflect cattle rustling on Alabama farms. These tips include tattooing and branding cattle for the purpose of identification instead of relying solely on ear tagging; ensuring the brand used is registered with the Stockyards & Brands Division of the Department of Agriculture; and keeping detailed records on the type, description and number of cattle in each location. Other useful tips include locating loading pens away from highways,
never keeping cattle penned overnight and varying the times of checking on or feeding cattle to keep employees, neighbors and others from noticing a pattern in daily routines.
Britnell said he hopes offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and he encouraged citizens to take advantage of the reward program, for which information about suspects can be submitted anonymously. He said it is also incumbent upon farmers to be aware of possible situations. “Farmers need to be vigilant and watch their herds, especially if they have cattle in a remote pasture,” Britnell said.
Alex Tigue, regional extension agent for Franklin County with the Alabama Cooperative Extension, encouraged people to take advantage of the program, citing the value of cattle as the likely motivation for anyone who would commit this type of crime. “It’s another great reason to be a part of the Cattlemen’s Association,” Tigue said.
To purchase a “No Trespassing” sign visit www.bamabeef.org. For more information on the Cattle Theft Reward program call 334-265-1867.
The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association is a service-based nonprofit organization founded in 1944 and headquartered on Capitol Hill in Montgomery. Producer- and member-driven, the ACA’s mission is to enhance the business climate of the state’s beef cattle industry, promoting a positive image while educating consumers that beef is a safe, wholesome, nutritious and convenient food product.