Agroterrorism in the News

The November 29, 2012 BBC article “Canadian ‘eco-terrorist’ surrenders in the US” is another example that indicates the agriculture and natural resources industry is at risk of terrorism. Although the BBC reported it as an “eco terrorist,” the accused actions of Rebecca Jeanette Rubin fit the definition of agroterrorism. Rubin is accused of being part of a group linked to arson attacks in the western U.S. from 1996 to 2001.

“The damage to the targets, including forest ranger stations and meat processing plants, ran to more than $40m (£25m).”

Agroterrorism is a relatively new term that was evolving before the September 11, 2001 attacks that focused the American public’s attention toward terrorism.  There are many definitions of agroterrorism, but all generally revolve around this idea from a University of Florida Extension publication:  “Agroterrorism is the deliberate introduction of detrimental agents, biological and otherwise, into the agricultural and food processing system with the intent of causing actual or perceived harm.”

In this view the attacks on ranger stations and meat processing plants fit the definition of an agroterrorism event.

Since 9-11, a great deal has been done to understand, plan for, and respond to potential agroterrorism attacks. The Food and Ag Defense Initiative is a program of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This program provides support for the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) to identify and respond to high risk biological pathogens in the food and agricultural system. The network is used to increase the ability to protect the nation from disease threats by identifying, containing, and minimizing disease threats. The funds also are used to support the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).

to address local emergency management planning for the food and agriculture sector, EDEN developed a program that has been delivered in more than 20 states called Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Preparedness (S-CAP). This unique training brings together multi-disciplinary teams of local agricultural emergency planning stakeholders to increase capacities within communities to address agricultural issues during an emergency or disaster. To find out more on S-CAP, visit the project’s page on the EDEN website.

– post written by Steve Cain, Purdue University Extension

From the National Drought Mitigation Center — “Drought for Kids”

Drought for Kids
Drought for Kids” from the National Drought Mitigation Center gives an overview of drought – the science, the impacts, and what people can do to prepare for drought.   An excellent resource for students, parents and teachers to learn more about the mitigation of drought, the development of drought, and the impact of drought on producers, communities, and individuals.

 

Kim Cassel

EPA Keeps Renewable Fuels Levels in Place After Considering State Requests

November 16, 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the agency denied the request by several states to grant a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The agency spokesperson indicated no evidence was found to support the claim that producers in particular livestock are being hurt by high corn prices due to the 2012 drought and diversion of corn to the production of ethanol.  The EPA indicated their decision was based on analyses and modeling done in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy.  For more information see the EPA news release.


Kim Cassel