Takin’ bacon

Midwest Farmers Are on Alert Against Pig Thieves

Here in pig country, the pigs are vanishing.

This month, 150 pigs — each one weighing more than an average grown man — disappeared from a farm building in Lafayette despite deadbolts on its doors. Farther north near Lake Lillian, 594 snorting, squealing hogs disappeared last month, whisked away in the dark.

And in Iowa, with added cover from the vast stretches of tall cornfields, pigs have been snatched, 20 or 30 at a time, from as many as eight facilities in the last few weeks, said the sheriff of Mitchell County, adding that among other challenges, the missing are difficult to single out.

“They all look alike,” said Curt Younker, the sheriff, who said he had only rarely heard of pig thefts in his decades on the job. “Suddenly we’re plagued with them.”


Was this all the work of a single roving band of pig thieves, or were they isolated incidents with separate culprits, all driven by the high price of pigs (which were going for about $200 apiece right now, and were even higher last month)?

And who would have enough experience with 270-pound pigs (a group that would not, for instance, simply march out of their barns with a whistle and a “come here, boy”) and sufficient equipment (at least a large livestock trailer) to pull off such heists?

And where exactly would they have taken the pigs?

“Hundreds of pigs don’t just disappear,” said Marc Chadderdon, a sheriff’s investigator who has worked in Nicollet County, home to about 33,000 people, since 1994 and said he had never before received a similar crime report.

“It’s not exactly like stealing a pot of gold,” he added. “You have to do something with them.”

I live in an agricultural area and Ag theft is no joke. Our county sheriff’s office actually has a special unit to deal with the problem.

Cattle and pig rustling is part of it, but so is crop theft. All you need is a pick-up truck and a couple friends and you can quickly steal a truck bed full of melons that you can sell for $2 apiece.

Around here thieves also steal the copper from irrigation systems and even trees – walnut burls are valuable.

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42 Responses to Takin’ bacon

  1. Mimi says:

    Hay, deer corn, and chicken feed are being stolen out of barns. I live in a rather nice neighborhood. I have one of the smallest houses on the biggest plot. I plant peppers in beds with flowers and my peppers have been stripped this year in areas closest to the streets. Neighboring retirees, judges, physicians, engineers, and county officials are ripping off my peppers. I don’t need or even want that many hot peppers but they need to ask before they take them. We have become a nation of casual theft.

    If anyone wants a pig they can come to Texas (get a permit) and hunt them. I saw two dead ones hit by cars on my drive back from Dallas.

  2. 1539days says:

    I live across from a farm on a county road. They grow corn and pumpkins. They generally put the low grade cow corn on the road side of the fields, but I imagine it’s tempting for theft. Not that’s I’ve ever crossed the road on an evening for a pumpkin or anything.

  3. Mimi says:

    This is OT but I found interesting. I had dinner last night with friends that I thought were totally non-political. They wanted to talk about the Republican debate. Why I asked. It’s too early. They said because there will be no Democratic debates nor primaries. It’s the only one where they have any input or get any choice. They then expounded on how Democrats do not allow choices and pre-pick presidential candidates according to what big wigs want and voters are just props in a charade. Don’t Republicans do the same thing I asked. They try but look at the Tea Party and the Republican Congressmen who refuse to vote as they are told, Democrats won’t do that they said.

    If this is what non connected voters are thinking, Democrats including Obama are in for a world of hurt in 2012. Voters have them figured out and they do not like it.

    • Mary says:

      Yup. 🙂

      At least for the Obama Democratic Party.

    • WMCB says:

      Yup. Of course, the GOP is fighting tooth and nail against the upstart peasants, but on the Dem side there is not even much of a resistance at all.

      I personally think that the next couple of elections are going to be less about policy and ideology, and more about which party will get off their manipulative high horse, STFU, and LISTEN to the people for a change. What the plan will be is frankly secondary at this point to making sure TPTB know they are fucking accountable to the People. You have to grab the reins first before you can direct the horse.

      The first party to acquire some humility, peel their greedy fingers off those reins, and get that through their thick heads, wins.

      The media doesn’t get this. In all their coverage of the Tea Party, or disaffected Liberals, they keep trying to make it about policy and taxes, etc – trying to figure out “What do these people want? They are all over the board politically!” The answer is simple: the people want control. They want to wrest our govt from the hands of the party poobahs and political advisors and campaign apparatchiks and lobbyists and the permanent political class, and give it back to the people. They figure that AFTER we’ve done that, we can have the conversation (and argument) amongst ourselves as to where to go with it. But we want it to be US having that conversation, not just them.

      • 1539days says:

        That’s the funny thing. The media seems to think that when people say they want a real say in the government, it’s of the slash government and “get the government hands off my Medicare” types. The fact is that liberals and conservatives can see just how broken government is. This is about sanity and accountability.

        • WMCB says:

          Yup. Look, there is a wide variance of political opinion in this country, and we are NOT going to force everyone to agree. We are not going to have a socialist’s dream or a libertarian’s dream.

          But most of us out here think we’d be better off having it out with our neighbors, and forging compromises between ourselves, than handing it all over to one party or the other to shove what they want down our throats.

      • ralphb says:

        That’s why I think Sarah’s speech in Iowa had some resonance, even with the reporter for the NYT. The old Left-Right split isn’t what it used to be rather the fight now is between proponents of big everything (government, finance, corporations) which is remote and completely out of control and more dynamic localism,

        People do want more control over their own lives and what effects them which they won’t get from big remote institutions, no matter whose hand is on the controls. At least part of the current institutional power structure has to go and the only place we can start is with the permanent political class, Let’s make them temporary.

        • WMCB says:

          Exactly, Ralph. And I think you are right about the reasons Palin’s speech resonated, even among many on the left who are not totally tribally blinded yet.

          Flawed and divided as we are, Americans on both sides of the aisle sense that it’s no longer about US and what WE want – and hasn’t been for a long time. And we want to change that.

          Not to sound all woo woo vague, but this is the driving gestalt now in the country, regardless of ideology. Big Government, Big Corporations, Big Politics, Big Unions – it doesn’t matter. We are sick of them all calling the shots. And from what I see, TPTB spend a lot of time getting us to argue over which particular “Big” is the real devil, while feeding us lock stock and barrel to one of the other mouths of “Big”.

          People are slowly waking up to this, and they can feel it, even if they cannot quite articulate it always.

        • ralphb says:

          If Palin get’s into the race, and I think she will, that viewpoint will get it’s first national airing and I think it’s a winner. Whoever runs on that platform could be a winner.

          It’s also a platform which could be ran in primaries and continue right through the general without change. No running back to the center would be required.

    • 1539days says:

      Especially since 2007, Democrats are severely admonished against dissent. Republicans for some time had solidarity, either in defense of Bush or against Obama and a Democratic Congress. I think when Republicans like Arlen Specter and Collins and Snowe started becoming the turnover votes for the Democrats, the schism in the Republicans became real.

      That’s one thing that makes the Tea Party movement really smart. They put up their own people in an established party (Republican) primary. If that candidate loses, they will still vote Republicans because they had the chance to participate. Critics try to blame the Tea Party for the fact that the Republicans couldn’t get the nearly impossible majority of Democratically held Senate seats in 2010. Tea Party candidates lost because many establishment Republicans preferred to burn their own party rather than let the duly elected Republican candidate get the office.

      • WMCB says:

        The thing about giving the govt back to the people is that it WILL be messy. No smoothly unified, well-oiled machines. There will be lots of arguing, some good candidates and some flakes, and a lot of coloring outside the lines.

        Good. Here’s a cheer for some messy, unpredictable, organic, representative governance.

    • Three Wickets says:

      If the tea party made a connection with the left, even a small or discrete one, they would be unstoppable. Remember when Jane Hamsher experimented with that a year or so ago..

      • ralphb says:

        It may not be likely but it’s possible that, if Palin fleshes out that Iowa speech and runs on it as a platform, she could be the glue for that small discrete connection. In my dreams anyway.

  4. OldCoastie says:

    At my last place I had a lemon tree that was next to a fence. One neighbor showed up with a large paper grocery bag and a small child to hold it while she furiously stripped lemons off the tree with both hands.

    When I stepped outside to ask just what the hell she thought she was doing, she didn’t even have the sense to be embarrassed at being caught. She argued, “You aren’t going to eat all the lemons!” (Never mind that every month excess lemons were put out by the community mailboxes)

    This, in a very lovely neighborhood. I was super mad.

    • OldCoastie says:

      by the way – cute pig!

    • myiq2xu says:

      Try growing zucchini

      You can’t even give those away.

    • Mimi says:

      I have native pecan trees growing in my woods. I caught some kids doing this and they said their mother told them to do it. I said give me the sack and go tell your mother that they are $8.00 a pound. I never saw them again.

      • myiq2xu says:

        I grew up on a Del Monte peach ranch. It was amazing how many people thought it was okay to stop and pick a couple sackfuls

        • Mimi says:

          These are small, greasy, strong tasting pecans and most people do not like them. They go rancid quickly so have to be shelled fairly timely then frozen to stay fresh. But the squirrels thrive on them and I try to keep the trees healthy for them. Some people do not understand that the woods are my yard and think that it is waste land instead of a wood maintained by me, my husband and an arborist. Most people do understand that it is a natural asset to the neighborhood and others have copied it for their landscapes. I do not want a manicured fake landscape when I can have this.

        • ralphb says:

          Yumm! native pecans are the best.

        • Pips says:

          … and pecan pie! Yummm! 😀

  5. yttik says:

    “594 snorting, squealing hogs disappeared last month…”

    I thought there were only 535 members of congress?

  6. ralphb says:

    New Civility in San Antonio

    SAN ANTONIO – Tempers flared during a town hall meeting on the Dream Act Tuesday night. During the meeting a high school government teacher from John F. Kennedy called the local Tea Party president a Nazi.

    • 1539days says:

      Did you notice that the man’s name was not used once in the story? He’s just referred to as “the teacher.” Ironically, the schools claims the guy was there on his own time and yet he is only identified as a teacher.

      • ralphb says:

        I noticed that. Be a shame to put a crimp in that prick’s reputation by naming him 🙂

        Though he’s in the video and I’m sure all his friends got to cheer.

      • WMCB says:

        Not only do they not identify the teacher, but they also fail to mention that the “Nazi Tea Party Leader” in question is himself Hispanic. But he hates brown people!!! Uncle Pedro!

        Look, I think that the “deport them all” position is stupid, just from a logistics standpoint. But I recognize that not everyone who holds that position holds it because they hates them some brown people. They are simply frustrated with the uncontrolled avalanche of illegal immigration, that our govt seems to have no intention of stopping. They have reasons for hardlining, not the least of which is that when they’ve tried to be reasonable on at least two occasions in the past, their reasonableness was taken as license to issue amnesties and then do zip, zero, nada to cut of the flow as they’d been promised.

        Many Hispanics here are just as fed up with that bait and switch as anyone else. They are citizens with businesses, and kids who need jobs. American Hispanics pay taxes that pay for the schooling, and the foodstamps and welfare and medicaid and free ER visits that are overwhelming the system in border states. THEIR neighborhoods bear the brunt of the drug wars and coyote trade.

        • ralphb says:

          The “teacher” didn’t want to persuade anyone, he just showed his ass instead. “You’re a Nazi” stops any meaningful conversation and just showed he had nothing to say to defend his own position.

          Shouting “I’m wrong” is the effect.

        • 1539days says:

          YouTube and Red State know his name. In fact, he identified himself in the part of the video the “news” station didn’t air. The deportation thing is kind of academic, anyway. No one is going to go through the time and expense of deporting people who are established in the country. I still think that legally, they could. If they’re felons, they should. I think they point of the Tea Party was that they would not oppose deportation of someone just because they were in school.

          I would be all for a DREAM Act that gave citizenship to an immigrant soldier. That’s a commitment. Most people in my high school just sort of wandered into college. Obviously, teachers want more customers, so they love illegal immigration. I don’t think that government teacher should be fired for his comments, he should be fired for his lack of historical knowledge. People are Nazis for opposing illegal immigration? He might as well call them Mexicans. Mexico has the most draconian immigration laws on the continent.

        • 1539days says:


          Basically, Godwin’s law applies.

        • WMCB says:

          The racist/nazi crap over illegal immigration always ticks me off anyway.

          Is a policy of not providing every benefit of citizenship, and the full range of services, to anyone in the country illegally, ONLY bad a racist when the United States does it? Or does that apply to other countries as well?

          Because we are pretty much the only ones who do. I can’t go to Mexico, or Ireland, or Italy, or Switzerland, or anywhere else with NO visa and no permission to be there – and just waltz in and sign up for a full range of all their public services.

          Are the Swiss nasty Nazi racists? Are the Italians?

        • Jadzia says:

          Amen. France sure as heck requires a lot even of legal immigrants. Just to give you a flavor of what you have to do over here: (1) MONTHS and months of paperwork, while still in the States and at a not-insignificant cost, to obtain an entry visa; (2) Another big fee and an all-day immigration appointment upon entering the country (well, about six weeks after getting here), including a long lecture on national values (in case you’re wondering, I am NOT allowed to force anybody to marry me — they went over that about ten times), multiple medical exams, and a language test; (3) Even though I PASSED the language test, 100 hours of French instruction in a city an hour and a half from my house, on a schedule determined by the government; (4) An all-day seminar on national values (that no-forced-marriage thing, also, women are allowed to vote) at a time and place determined by the government; and (5) A half-day job-counseling session at a time and place determined by the government (in my case, it’s 3 hours from my house, on a day when I am required to be at the French class, which is in a different city altogether). I am actually looking forward to that one (am going in about a week) because if I don’t get a job soon I am going to go BSC.

          If I had not done ALL of this stuff, of course there would be no way to access health care or any other public service.

          Anyway, all that bureaucracy is NOT to become a citizen. That is what’s required just to get a one-year visa that is equivalent to an American green card. Citizenship takes more money, more paperwork, at least two years, fluency in the language, and a determination that the candidate is culturally French. And what is required of me is relatively easy, because I am coming in with a French spouse and 3 French-citizen kids.

          As some of you know, my husband was an illegal immigrant to the U.S. (he overstayed a student visa that was issued back in the early 1990s). You know what he had to do to get a green card, even after being in the U.S. illegally for more than a decade? He had to pay a couple of hundred bucks (plus $900 for a lawyer, because I was pretty paranoid–turned out the lawyer wasn’t necessary at all) for the green card application and about $150 for a cursory medical exam. Our interview was something like 10 minutes–I was pregnant and the immigration officer took one look at me and was like, “well, I believe you all are legit.” Green card issued and he never had to deal with the INS again except to notify them of a change of address.

        • WMCB says:

          Jadzia, they require you to learn their language and be instructed in their national culture and govt and history and values? They want you to have some understanding of and assimilation to the country to which you are emigrating? RACISTS!!

          Frankly, I think that all the many hoops of the French are a bit much for here. But I find it ridiculous that many many European countries have similar requirements, yet no one calls them names.

          But here in the US, suggesting policies that are far, far, FAR less stringent than the European ones gets you branded a nasty hater. It’s only evil if Americans do it.

        • 1539days says:

          It was probably easier to enter France when you could say you were coming to get away from GW Bush 😛

        • Jadzia says:

          Crazy, isn’t it??? But I have never heard anybody complain about these requirements (except for the citizenship process, which I am told is less than… welcoming, even for longtime residents) and I am certainly not complaining about them. Even though it’s inconvenient, I WANT to be able to function in this society, even if I don’t ever completely assimilate. And that requires cultural and linguistic competence.

          I will say that the U.S. could do a better job of assisting legal immigrants when they land. For example, all those French lessons, as well as the job counseling, are free (or, more accurately, included in the $$ I paid for the visa). It would be much more difficult to access those resources if I was not told where to go, or if I had to come up with separate $ to pay for it. But having done these things, I’m a lot more likely to be able to secure employment and be a productive (and taxpaying) member of society.

        • Jadzia says:

          1539–ha ha ha. They seem to LOOOVE Hillary here. There were some gorgeous pictures of her in one of the magazines this week (well, I saw it this week in the doc’s office–could be 6 months old), showing her approaching Sarko with open arms.

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