Biosecurity against accidental or terrorist threats to the nation’s food supply got a boost at the White House last week. It’s an old issue that took on a new ‘face’ at the White House with the signing of the National Security Memorandum to Strengthen the Security and Resilience of U.S. Food and Agriculture.
National Cattlemen’s CEO Colin Woodall was at a White House pre-briefing and says the Memorandum gives Ag a seat at the table.
Woodall; “And find ways to make sure that we can continue to protect ourselves and respond in the event of some sort of either terrorist action or some sort of unintentional action that results in us having a foreign animal disease or some other threat.”
And not just with the help of USDA according to Woodall; “We had the FBI at the table, the National Security Council, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and many other agencies that all understand what threats truly mean to this country.”
Especially threats like foot-and-mouth disease. Woodall; “And could be introduced into the United States, either unintentionally just by somebody who may have been on a farm or ranch in a country that has foot and mouth diseases coming back and not cleaning off their boots, that could unintentionally bring it forward, or intentional introduction by a terrorist group.”
Among the tools to respond are the National Veterinary Stockpile, the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Bank, and the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Woodall says the Memorandum will reinforce to Congress the need to keep funding these in the next farm bill and Ag spending bills.