It has become somewhat common for animal activists, those wanting to discredit livestock operations as cruel and inhumane, to apply for jobs that put them in a position to be at an operation daily and video record anything that might be sensational when creatively clipped together for an expose video.

The same could happen at ag retailer or other agricultural operations by environmentalists with an axe to grind. Ag retailers have previously been warned to do complete background checks on all employees because of the potential for domestic terrorists working around fertilizer, mainly ammonium nitrate, and stealing product. But the highly motivated environmental activists that claim organic farming is the only answer to not “pollute the earth” could be a problem, too.

At the recent Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, a Washington, DC, attorney, Elliot Belilos, offered advice to avoid hiring individuals who apply under false pretenses, and on how to position a business for recourse in case such an applicant is hired.

He outlined several due-diligence steps employers can take during the application and review process. The concern over activists infiltrating businesses with intent to cause economic harm or damage reputations is directed mainly to livestock operations, but other agricultural operations as well can learn from his presentation, especially about being able to take recourse against an employee who tries to defame a business.

A summary of the presentation was posted on Drovers/, a sister publication and website to AgProfessional, the summary can be reached by clicking “Spies, saboteurs and job applications.”