Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack

Fleet GPS: The Needle in the Haystack

While the world has looked on in horror as tornadoes ripped their way across Oklahoma, another type of severe weather—drought—is having a very different impact: Theft. Farmers and ranchers are finding that as the drought continues, hay prices are on the rise and with that, a rise in the theft of hay bales. This is serious business as without the hay, their cattle starve.

Although one part of the state received some rain last week, it appeared in the form of severe weather prompting Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center to say, “A drought really tests your coping capacity.” To protect their agricultural assets, many Oklahoman ranchers are proving they’re meeting the challenge by turning to technology. They’ve installed GPS Locators into their hay bales to help track them in the event of theft.

Putting a GPS locator into a hay bale safeguards it automatically against unauthorized movement. Should it go missing, it can be tracked in real-time (by sending alerts and providing real-time visibility). With this visibility, farmers and ranchers can work with local police to locate wayward assets and retrieve them.

Smart Rural Communities

Back in 1920, 34% of the US population lived and worked in rural areas, but by the end of the century only 2% of American workers made a living there. With the decrease of economic output resulting from decades of population loss, agricultural areas stand to benefit from tools that help businesses do more with fewer workers and tools that help them monitor their assets more effectively.

In describing Intelligent Communities (those that use broadband technologies such as DSL, cable, satellite and wireless to prosper) Robert Bell described the misperception that intelligent communities are only affluent, urban, chic neighborhoods in large cities. While decrying that perception, he looks at rural areas as among the chief benefactors of smart technology. And, in that respect the cattle ranchers of Oklahoma agree with him.

Asset Tracking

Like farmers and ranchers, fleet owners lose sleep not knowing where their assets are. From hay bales to heavy machinery, assets left in the field are at risk of theft. Implementing asset tracking solutions reduces risk, improves productivity, and ultimately saves operating costs.