An Issue of Bovine Security

Electric co-ops face a lot of security challenges these days, but Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative encountered a different kind of breach—a gentle Hereford calf named Fifi.

Eastern Iowa Light & Power’s Dan Fratzke makes sure Fifi, a stray from a nearby farm, stays on her best behavior while on the co-op’s property. (Photo By: Jim Williams)

Eastern Iowa Light & Power’s Dan Fratzke makes sure Fifi, a stray from a nearby farm, stays on her best behavior while on the co-op’s property. (Photo By: Jim Williams)

The adventure unfolded on a warmish February day when the calf slipped through an automated gate and into the co-op's pole yard on the heels of a truck, said Joe Williams, communications director of the Wilton-based co-op. The gate closed behind the calf, leaving it free to roam—and sniff—the grounds.

The calf likely strayed from a nearby farm, looking for her mother, said Williams.

"The calf walked at least a mile, walking through cornfields. She was wandering around and mooing. Some of us coaxed her into the wash bay, but she wouldn't let us get close enough to put a harness on her."

While the animal didn't take to the harness, she did allow Steph Miene to get close enough to read identification information off the ear tag. The owner lived about a mile away and the calf's name was Fifi. Miene, a customer service rep at the co-op, raises cattle on the side.

The co-op called the owner who arrived within an hour with a trailer and the calf's mother.

You could say no one had a cow during the incident. Fifi stayed calm most likely because she has yet to be weaned, and Herefords tend to be docile breeds, said Williams,

"While we continue to focus on the issues of cybersecurity and grid security, this bovine security breach was an easier challenge to meet."

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