Hi-Tech Farm Watch Organized in Hilmar to Stop Calf Thefts

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Call it calf-napping or cattle rustling. Call it a felony. Whatever you call it, ranchers in Hilmar are calling together a hi-tech posse to put an end to it.

“Oh yeah, we’re taking a tough line,” said Mike Seward of Farm Watch.

Monday morning 16 calves were carried-off from one Hilmar farm – and it’s the second time in two weeks that their herd had been hit.

The calves are just one month old.

“Real frustrated how these thieves can come in here and steal from us. This is our future right here,” said Steve Belo, farm manager.

There’s no telling how well the stolen jersey calves are being cared-for, and whether they’ll be slaughtered or sold.

But we can tell you how the ranchers plans to get them back. That’s where Farm Watch comes in. Think neighborhood watch only out in the country, focused on preventing and solving ag crimes. They are using surveillance and cell phones – high-tech tactics against an Old West problem.

“This is probably going to be a pretty easy one to solve. And what’s going to come from this: if there’s a trend developing, we’re stopping it today,” Seward said.

Farm Watch is not a vigilante organization, Seward says. He says they do leg-work and surveillance, and then call the police.

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