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Low-Cost Alarms Improve Farm Security

Farms are home to some pretty valuable merchandise these days. And although rural residents often expect to be able to leave homes and buildings unlocked, they can fall victim to thefts just as easily as city residents, maybe even more easily given their remote locations.

So it may be wise to consider just how secure your farm and property is before thieves strike, if they haven’t already. Installing a basic on-farm security system can be a good idea, and it doesn’t need to break the bank. There are several inexpensive alarm systems on the market that bump up the level of security around the farm with only a minimum investment.

A good start to improving basic security can be something as simple as a wireless driveway alarm. There are several styles on the market that alert you to the presence of a person or vehicle approaching. These simple systems can be mounted up to 600 feet from a receiver.

Driveway alarms use a variety of detection methods. Some use infrared sensors, others, like the Dakota Wireless Probe Alert, use magnetic detection, which means they only detect vehicles. That prevents false alarms from wild animals. Still other detectors use a cable placed across the road, similar to the old gas station air-bell system. “If a farmer is in an area with a lot of deer, the last two might be the best bet,” says Jason Quam, sales manager at Dakota Alert, an alarm manufacturer.

REASONABLE PRICES

Prices of infrared detectors start at around $200 or less. Systems like the metal-detecting Probe retail for approximately $400. When it comes to installing driveway alarms, there is nothing too complicated about it. “It’s very much a do-it-yourself situation,” says Quam.

If you want to keep an eye on a particular building, basic, easy-to-install entry alarm systems are also available in a similar price range.

Add on another $200 and you can purchase a remote dialer, which when coupled to a driveway or building alarm can automatically call you on your cellphone to alert you to someone entering your property, even if you’re not at home.

But if you want more sophistication, alarm systems for buildings like the Sensaphone 400 offer the ability to monitor several inputs like temperature, motion, doors and even the presence of water. The Sensaphone can be programmed to dial a telephone number to report a specific problem with a pre-recorded message. If the alarm is reporting a possible break-in, you can even listen in on a speaker set up to monitor noises inside a building. Systems like the Sensaphone 400 start at around $500

But the available technology and sophistication doesn’t stop there. Additional systems can include such things as small video cameras with built-in digital video recorders. Chris Sobchuk of Allen Leigh Security and Communications in Brandon, Manitoba, says a camera system with a two-gigabyte memory card retails for about $550.

And there are tracking devices that can greatly increase the chances of recovering stolen machinery. With the use of GPS, a unit installed in a machine can send out a signal giving its location, which can be continuously monitored via the Internet. “If a machine gets stolen, they can track it,” Sobchuk says.

As technology advances, new security products are continually coming to the consumer marketplace, and they make improving home and farm security not only simple but affordable. With so much valuable property on farms vulnerable to thieves, the question seems to be can you afford not to have one?

SMALL SENTRIES: Wireless driveway alarms, like this Dakota Alert version, can greatly improve farmyard security with only a small cash investment.

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