There are lot of targets on Dustin Shannon's ranch. Ladders, tractors and pumps, all valuable to his operation. Things he says, thieves are looking for, "Every year, we get something stolen or attempted to be stolen."
Shannon is a part owner of SK Ranch in Tulare County. When thieves steal equipment, he says it doesn't just affect him, it can affect everyone on the ranch, "It can mean a loss of dollars, slow down production, it can put off jobs until later in the season when it could have been done right away," Shannon added.
The Tulare County District Attorney's Office is trying to help. It has received funding to beef up The Rural Crimes Investigation Unit. Dedicating a few investigators and a prosecutor to Ag crimes.
District Attorney, Tim Ward said, "Crime should not be a factor in the cost of doing business especially when that business feeds the world."
He says Ag theft is on the rise and the county is offering a free service to prevent it. Farmers and Ranchers can contact the sheriff's department to get equipment marked with a unique ID number.
Shannon said, "We've had law enforcement find some of our old equipment that was marked years ago and were able to return it to us due to that."
He says his new equipment isn't marked but he has an appointment to have it done, "Every little bit helps."
Everything marked with an ID number will be tracked by the sheriff's department and the state.
The District Attorney's Office says commodity theft is down but metal theft is up.