John Paul Hindman is always keeping an eye out for thieves.
He is the brand manager for the Lubbock Cattle Auction and it is his job to make sure every cow is being sold by its rightful owner.
“You know your cows and you check on them everyday,” Hindman said.
But a rise in cattle rustling across the state is making his job harder.
“There is always some rustling going on,” Hindman said. “When calves are bringing $2 a pound, that is a $800 calf. If it is available somewhere where they can rope and drag it in a trailer they can get 800 for it.”
The drought in 2011 caused a major drop in the cattle population but it made prices go up and that is appealing to thieves.
“Especially when the pens are close to the highway and they are not locked up well,” Hindman said. “They can shut the gate, load them and be gone. They know what they are doing.”
HIndman said the problem is not too big in
There are several ways farmers can protect their investment.
“Brand them,” Hindman said. “That is your number one protection.”
Hindman said he checks the branding of every cow that goes through auction and if your cows are stolen it increases your chances of getting them back.
“If you got cattle, brand your cattle,” Hindman said. “Get your brand on them and that gives us something to go on.”