By Sara Forhetz
HALFWAY, Mo. - New instances of cattle rustling are surfacing in the Ozarks. The latest report is near Halfway, in Polk County, where multiple head of cattle were stolen from a family farm.
Willa Farmer's family has been farming north of Halfway for 59 years, and has never had a problem. In the last two and a half weeks, however, they've lost 13 head of cattle to thieves.
"Something triggered them to pull out of here fast, because they left the gate open this time," said Farmer.
She says she is happy she has any cattle left, after thieves hit her twice in the last 16 days. The cattle are what puts food on the table and a roof overhead. She knows each of her cattle by name.
Farmer says someone just drove up to her fence, took the gate off the hinges, and lured them out with sweet feed. Years of income walked out the gate in minutes.
"It's really been hard to take because of the thought they just came in. You feel violated, that someone would take advantage of you in that way," Farmer said. "You don't breed a heifer until she is approximately two years old, and you've got the calf to raise up and this is a long term income. It's stretched out three to four years when you have cattle."
The thieves will change the way that Farmer does business. For the first time, she feels like she needs to tag and chip all the cattle, which will be expensive for her. In the meantime, she's calling around to all the stockyards trying to find the ones that are gone. Video.