Agroterrorism

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

An attack on our food supply could spread quickly and call for drastic measures from the government.

"It would stop everything from sales of grain to inter and intrastate travel through that area. We would shut down everything from fuel distribution to grocery stores," said Terry Groves, Director of Stephenson County Emergency Management.

"It's a huge threat to the state and nation," said Jim Kunkle from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

That's why the government is working with farmers to raise awareness of the potential threat to their livestock. In Stephenson County agriculture and emergency response leaders took a training seminar on agroterrorism.

Stephenson County is the largest livestock producing county in Illinois.

"Any type of foreign animal disease would be devastating to Stephenson County and also Wisconsin and Iowa," said Groves.

Our food supply is highly susceptible to attacks from terrorists. Most of the stateline is covered by farmland with low security. It only takes one infected cow or pig to start an outbreak.

"If they implanted something at the Illinois State Fair it could spread all over really quick. There's such a large number of animals moving from state to state now too," Kunkle said.

An outbreak has the potential to destroy a multi billion dollar industry in the United States. Our best defense is to keep and eye out for strange behavior among animals and humans.

"If you see people acting out of the ordinary on your farm, contact local authorities," Kunkle said.

Farmers should also report odd behavior in animals to their veterinarian.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is asking farmers to help them track movement of livestock by registering their animals with the state. To do that you can log on the state agriculture website, www.agr.state.il.us/PremiseID.


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