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Cattle Producers Plan to Stop Rustlers

November 29, 2005
By: David Schneider
State Capital Bureau

Some Missouri cattle producers are coming together and patrolling their farms as cattle theft gets worse. David Schneider has more in Jefferson City.

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The Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association says rustlers have been sneaking onto ranches in the middle of the night and stealing other people's cattle in southwest Missouri. Cattle producers and sheriffs in the area are responding by patrolling at night, looking for stock-trailers. One rancher, Jack Ebert, says if he spots a trailer at night he'll follow it and call the police, but that's all.

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Contents: "I'm not going to try to stop it or anything like that because that just puts you in a situation, you know, where somebody could get hurt. And it's not worth, you know, my getting myself killed over a bunch of cattle I'm not going to do that."

Ebert attributes the increased cattle theft to high cattle prices. He says one calf can sell for about 700 dollars. From the state capital, I'm David Schneider.

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Ranchers hit hard by increasing cattle theft in Missouri have a plan to stop the crime. David Schneider has more in Jefferson City.

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Cattle producers in southwest Missouri are banding together and patrolling their ranches at night. Together with sheriffs they're looking for signs of rustlers - things like broken fences or stock trailers which usually would not be out at night. One rancher, Jack Ebert, says the thieves are probably not strangers.

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Contents: "We think it's local. It's got to be people that know the area, and it's people that are very experienced with handling cattle."

Ebert says cattle producers just starting out could be put out of business if their cattle were stolen. From the state capital, I'm David Schneider.

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A crime as old as the cattle industry is becoming a problem for ranchers in Missouri. David Schneider has more in Jefferson City.


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Rancher Bob Herndon says thieves stole about 18-thousand dollars worth of cattle in one night when they took 25 of his calves. In the past few months rustling has become so bad in southwest Missouri cattle producers decided to patrol at night, looking for cattle thieves. Brent Bryant, Executive Vice President of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, says everyone in the community can help fight the crime.

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Contents: "You know, we want to make sure we're not an easy mark. We want to make sure that our members, and the cattle men and women across Missouri got our eyes and ears open and our neighbors that don't have cattle, if they see someone loading cattle at midnight that's a pretty unusual thing and we want to make sure somebody's calling the sheriff."

One rancher estimates over 100 head of cattle have been stolen from the area in the past few months. From the state capital, I'm David Schneider.