May 2016 ADBCAP Newsletter

A flock of chickens

One of the speakers at the recent National Institute for Animal Agriculture conference reminded the audience that this year marks the 15th anniversary of both the 9-11 attacks in the United States and the horrific outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. One was an act of terrorism; one was a terrifying consequence of an accidental introduction. Members of the food and agriculture sector are sometimes reluctant to think of themselves as “critical infrastructure” as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. However, I think they do consider themselves essential elements of the nation’s economy and way of life. As one of those essential elements, the food and agriculture sector is a critical infrastructure and underlies the nation’s food security. Indeed, every producer can be looked at as critical infrastructure given the interconnected nature of the food and agriculture sector. Without the production and availability of foods, efforts to ensure access and utilization across demographics are futile. Food producing animals are vulnerable to a number of diseases and pests, some of which don’t currently exist in this country, some that mimic diseases that occur elsewhere, and some that routinely circulate with varying levels of ease.

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