Georgia congressmen press House about agroterrorism

Published 1 September 2006

State a leader in biodefense; first state to create a “national curriculum” on agrosecurity

Georgia on our minds. At a recent hearing of the House Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Bioogical attack, four congressmen from that state expressed frustration with the nation’s agro- and bioterrorism defense plan. “Agroterrorism is a subject that needs a lot more attention than it’s gotten lately,” said Representative John Barrow, noting that one-sixth of the U.S. gross national product comes from agriculture but only 5 percent of the homeland security budget is spent on defending it.

Although Georgia’s economy is much more diverse than when Stephen Foster sang about the Swanee river and “a-longin’ for the old plantation,” agriculture remains a major sector. According to one congressman, Georgia was the first state to create a “national curriculum” on agrosecurity, training 2,500 local emergency managers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, veterinarians and agricultural producers on identifying and responding to an attack.

-read more in Audrey Goodson’s RedandBlack report