|Gov. Matt Blunt has announced a state and local partnership effort to combat a recent string of cattle thefts across Southwest and Central Missouri that have resulted in significant financial losses for family farmers.
“Missouri has had at least 82 reported incidents involving the theft of hundreds of cattle, cattle trailers, vehicles and farm equipment this year,” Blunt said. “The partnership I am announcing between state and local law enforcement and agricultural associations will help bring attention to these crimes and hopefully bring the offenders to justice."
Chief among Blunt's proposals is the implementation of the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) that Missourians can report suspicious activity around cattle farms or share information possibly related to cattle thefts by phoning 1-866-362-6422. Blunt also encouraged citizens to contact their local law enforcement agencies as well. He announced that he would seek legislative action this session that would stiffen the penalty for livestock theft from a Class D to a Class C felony.
Local groups are encouraged to help raise awareness of the crimes to report suspicious activity by paying special attention to trucks with trailers that are usually not in the area, unusual vehicles or traffic patterns and unusual nighttime cattle loading or shipping.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Cattleman’s Association and the Missouri Livestock Marketing Association are recommending that livestock auction markets across the state ask that voluntary producer photo ID’s be filed to help ensure that honest businesspeople are buying, selling and transporting cattle.
According to the Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri:
- is the second leading state (behind Texas) in the number of beef cows with 2.16 million
- ranks sixth among all states in total number of cattle with 4.45 million
- has approximately 68,000 farms with beef or dairy cattle
- has beef cattle and calves sales totaling nearly $1 billion
- has approximately 12 million acres of pasture land