Protect our food and agriculture

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I think most of us remember vividly where we were on Sept. 11, 2001.

I know all of our lives have changed because of this horrific terrorist attack. It behooves us all to continue to be aware of the potential risks which are around us. I especially have thought of the potential ways in which terrorists might try to attack our nation through our food supply.

William H. Frist, M.D., a nationally recognized surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, once stated, “Our top focus — protecting our nation — must go beyond homeland preparedness; America will only be secure if we deal with threats before they happen, not just after they happen.”

To help us prepare for potential threats to agriculture, OSU Extension and the Ashtabula County Health Department will be hosting a Principles of Preparedness for Agro-terrorism and Food System Disaster workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 11 at Expo Center at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in Jefferson, Ohio. This program is open to anyone in Ohio.

Workshop

This workshop will be training for a wide variety of individuals who might be asked to respond to an agro-terrorism emergency including individuals representing public health, environmental health, law enforcement, fire services, food and agriculture industries, agricultural representatives, public officials, emergency services representatives, veterinarians, and emergency responders.

Skill development

Emergency response team personnel will develop skills to assess vulnerabilities and identify targets to assist in preventing or mitigating an intentional attack on our agriculture and food systems. This workshop will focus on local emergency teams who will have to respond to an incident in cooperation with state and federal antiterrorism teams.

Training topics include identifying targets, developing prevention, protection and mitigation strategies, building multidisciplinary response teams, and identifying the roles of the government agencies throughout an incident.

This is the second of six courses in Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) Agro-terrorism Preparedness Curriculum for Frontline Responders series.

No fee

There is no fee to attend this workshop. Reservations are requested by June 2 as a minimum of 20 registrations must be received by this date to confirm the class will be held. Registration can be completed on-line at www.ruraltraining.org.

Questions

For information contact the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008 or Deborah Franley at the Ashtabula County Health Department 440-576-3023 or Deborah.franley@odh.ohio.gov.

I hope many of our northeast Ohio emergency responders, veterinarians, safety and farmers will attend and learn more about reducing the threats to our agriculture and food systems. As the old saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry! I hope to see many of you at this workshop!

To close today’s column I would like to share a quote from Judy Biggert: “No one ever said that fighting the war against terrorism and defending our homeland would be easy. So let’s support our troops, law enforcement workers, and our mission to keep our nation and our children safe in the days and years to come.”

Have a good and safe day!

About the Author

(David Marrison is an agricultural extension educator in Ashtabula County.) More Stories by David Marrison

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