“We lost 22 feet of irrigation water because of these crooks, and if it had been in the middle of the summer this loss could have led to serious crop damage — maybe in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is not a minor crime, but is a big deal and no one is doing anything to stop it.”

“It just made my day when those tires were blown out and arrests were made,” said Michael. “We have very few victories against these thieves, and it was satisfying to know that we had ruined their day for once.”

Michael did not spike the road capriciously. “I have had some people contact me to say that I could be in trouble if someone was injured, even if they were stealing.

“We didn't just do this on some whim. We have had a lot of theft out here in the country, and it just reached a point of real frustration.”

Michael explained that the strips were buried in a unique spot on the farm. It was very remote and on maintenance roads no one should be traveling except people who have business there.

“We took care to not put them where we felt any legitimate person would be injured,” he explains. “It is sad that we live in a time when thieves could have more rights than landowners.

“I don't want to be put up as some radical — we are reasonable law abiding and taxpaying people, but we have just been left with no real options.

“I am not just going to keep repairing these pumps so the wire can be stolen over and over again.”

If you want to steal copper at Bowles Farming, better read the new posted signs: "Roads may be spiked, enter at your own risk.”

“It’s getting to be the Wild West, and we have to do something to protect our property,” he adds.

(Metal theft has also become a huge problem in the Southeast. To help combat the problem, Alabama is offering a reward for information and a conviction. See $10,000 reward offered to deter metal theft in Alabama. Meanwhile, the Georgia state legislature is trying to find a solution. That information is at Georgia state senators take on metal theft issue).

hcline@farmpress.com