South Georgia farmers grabbing up irrigation pivot alarms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia farmers grabbing up irrigation pivot alarms

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One of South Georgia's most frustrating crime problems is copper wire theft from irrigation pivots.

Farmers are dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in damage done by thieves who will make only a fraction of that selling the copper.

A South Georgia security company now says it has a way to help farmers protect their equipment.

It's called the "touch me not irrigation alarm." Central Monitoring technicians saw the problem of irrigation pivot metal thefts, and came up with an alarm system to try to keep those thieves off the farm.

Central Monitoring Service Manager Mike White installs one of his inventions, the Touch Me Not irrigation alarm. He said farmers, who have had their irrigation pivots stripped by copper thieves three or four times, were looking for help.

White said "We've been getting calls. We've probably been getting them for the last six months."

Since last year thieves have been plaguing farmers, stripping the control wire that runs the length of an irrigation pivot, made up of heavy duty copper. There was no affordable alarm on the market, so White went to work to develop one.

White said "I have a friend that let us play with one of his units until we figured it out. And it was all downhill from there."

They don't want to show much of the irrigation alarm system, but it's operates off solar power or battery, and uses a high gain mobile phone signal to send an alarm to the monitoring station and a text alert to the farmer if it is disturbed. Central Monitoring just started installing the system, but it is already a hot item.

 White said "The demand is starting to peak. We're doing this one today. We've already done two others, and we have more coming in for the week."

A new idea, trying to stop a crime problem that has cost South Georgia farmers tens of thousands of dollars, and continues with more victims almost daily.

The Irrigation Alarm System does not sound a siren.  It sends out an alarm to alert the farmer and law enforcement. The farmer having that alarm installed today did not want to be identified. He hopes the alarm system will help him catch the thieves who have stripped five of his pivots.

Central Monitoring will install an irrigation alarm for $250 per pivot plus a $25 monthly monitoring fee.

They say the service could save farmers thousands of dollars in damage.

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