About 50 thefts of hay bales have been reported from fields in Maricopa County, Ariz., (Phoenix area), since mid-April. The stolen hay is valued at an estimated $30,000.

“The hay is being stolen at night or in the early morning,” said Jeannette Fish, executive director of the Maricopa County Farm Bureau. “Farmers and others who see someone at a hay stack with a pick-up during that time frame should call 911. Every theft should be reported.”

Seventeen hay growers have reported thefts to Farm Bureau. The organization is serving as a clearinghouse for related information and is staying in touch with its membership by e-mail.

More thefts have been reported in western Maricopa County.

“Two hundred bales were stolen from one farmer one night,” Fish said.

A standard hay bale sells for about $10 in Maricopa County.

Thefts or suspicious activities around hay bale stacks should be immediately reported to local law enforcement officials, Fish said.

The Avondale Police Department helped create a flyer with key information and suggestions for farmers and the general public.

Take notice of:

• People loading hay bales from a field or stacks beside a field during the night or early morning hours.

• People loading bales into pick-up trucks or on trailers. Most farmers use a hay retriever to haul hay.

• People hauling hay in pick-up trucks or trailers at night or in the early morning hours.

• People selling hay on the side of the road or in a yard or parking lot, especially if the price is under $10 per bale.

• Note key vehicle information and the color of the twine on the bales.

For more information, contact Fish at (602) 437-1330.

email: cblake@farmpress.com