With America's farm families under attack from activist groups, now is the time to review your farm's security procedures, including careful screening of potential employees.

Food production is a matter of national security, and it’s critical that we do everything we can to protect it, according to the Animal Agriculture Alliance.

Farm managers must be wary in order to protect their way of life. The Animal Ag Alliance provides the following five farm security tips:

1. Identify where your facility is vulnerable. Employee safety should be your first priority. Provide good lighting in parking areas. Do you use video cameras as part of your security system? Create a plan for working with local law enforcement and media if you become a target.

2. When hiring, check references closely. Call previous employers, don’t just take the applicant's word for it that they have farm experience.  Find out if their previous experience was “undercover” or legitimate. If you work with a temp agency or labor office, educate them about the threat that activists pose. Most infiltrators are young and often use their university ID instead of a driver’s license when applying for a farm job.

3. Ask straight-forward questions during interviews. Has the applicant ever changed his or her name? Ask if they are currently working for an organization that is paying them to collect information about your company. Ask if they intend to use any equipment that can collect audio, video, or still photographs. Establish a policy that either prohibits their use or requires that all such tools be declared upon being hired and can't be used without prior consent. Provide these questions and have them answered in writing, and ensure the application is signed.

4. Require that all new hires sign an animal care agreement. Train all employees in animal handling and specify that any employee who observes or receives information about animal mistreatment must immediately report that information to a supervisor. Failure to do so should be cause for dismissal and potential criminal charges.

5. Watch for suspicious activity. Do certain employees come in unusually early or late? Pay attention to cafeteria or break room discussions about new hires that don’t fit in or those that seem overly curious about your company.

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance