Groups Ask For More Farm Security

U.S. farm groups and industry exporters Tuesday urged the Bush Administration to step up efforts to protect agriculture and the U.S. food supply from a biological or chemical attack.

The American Farm Bureau Federation urged President Bush to appoint a specialist within the new Office of Homeland Security to deal with agriculture and food security.

According to experts interviewed by Reuters News Service, the United States only began exploring the possibility of a deliberate biological attack on the farm industry a few months ago, after the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe.

"We are very definitely in the early stages of protecting ourselves from bioterrorism in agriculture," said Harley Moon, an Iowa State University veterinarian.

Several foreign farm diseases, including mad cow, African swine fever and soybean rust would have a costly, long-term impact if they infected U.S. livestock or crops.

USDA has repeatedly declined to comment on its research into bioterrorism.

Editors note: Richard Brock, Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.

To see more market perspectives, visit Brock's Web site at www.brockreport.com.