Biodefense experts told the Senate Agriculture Committee a message the panel has heard before. The U.S. is ill-prepared for an intentional or natural disease outbreak that could devastate the nation’s food supply. It’s been over a decade since the Senate Ag Committee held a hearing on agriculture security, but concern over the issue has only grown.
Former U.S. Senator and now Co-Chair of a Blue-Ribbon Study on Biodefense, Joseph Lieberman.
Six of those pathogens targeted livestock and poultry and four targeted crops.
Lieberman told Senate Ag his blue-ribbon panel found poor U.S. agency coordination, focus, and funding in an area that can be just as scary as a nuclear threat, citing a recent report that North Korea may also have bioweapons. Lieberman, who once chaired Senate Homeland Security, added.
Lieberman’s panel calls for a national biodefense strategy that the White House is now working on, countermeasures for livestock disease outbreaks, and a prevention fund for animal health.
Former Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers heads Kansas State University, doing animal and plant disease research for the National Bio Agro Defense facility, ‘NBAF,’ being built nearby in Manhattan, Kansas.
Myers called on Congress to enact enforceable statutes before, he says, “it becomes too late.”
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.