Agroterrorism in the US: Key Security Challenges for the 21st Century

O. Shawn Cupp; David E. Walker II; John Hillison

Disclosures

Biosecur Bioterror. 2004;2(2) 

In This Article

Abstract

Agriculture is one of the easiest sectors of the U.S. economy to disrupt, and its disruption could have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. and world economies. Agriculture in the U.S. accounts for 13% of the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment for 15% of the population. It produces high-quality, cheap, plentiful food for domestic consumption and accounts for more than $50 billion in exports. The likelihood of terrorist acts interrupting the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural products is high: A number of different possible plant or animal pathogens could cause harm or loss of production, and even an act of agroterrorism that did not result in the destruction of foodstuffs or interruptions in the food supply could have a psychological impact. A number of recent unintentional events and epidemics have prompted the U.S. and other countries to provide resources to counteract contagious diseases and contain their impact, including increased funding to federal agencies that are responsible for protecting domestic agriculture. This article presents recommendations to protect agriculture, including changing the way agriculture is viewed on the federal level and increasing the resources to protect agriculture from terrorist attack.

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