The U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, clearing a key hurdle for the bill’s consideration by the full House and Senate.
Representative David Young (R-Iowa) said in a statement: “I am pleased with the significant progress my solution to address this important issue has made in Congress. Security is not a partisan issue and I will continue to work with my colleagues to keep our country safe and prepared to secure our nation’s agriculture industry, livestock and food supply from agroterrorism threats.”
The lawmaker noted that the United States faces global and complex national security challenges. Agroterrorism, and other high-risk events, pose serious threats to the food, agriculture, and livestock industries across the United States. “It is imperative we have preparedness policies in place to quickly respond to events threatening U.S. agriculture or food production systems — protecting these key industries which impact every Americans on a daily basis,” Young said.
The Securing our Agriculture and Food Act requires the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, to lead the government’s efforts to secure the U.S.food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events. The bill also authorizes the secretary to collaborate with other agencies to ensure food, agriculture, and animal and human health sectors receive attention and are integrated into the DHS’s domestic preparedness policy initiatives.
Both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate versions of the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act have been voted out of committee and are waiting for a vote to be scheduled in both legislative bodies.