Vigilence is needed


By Dan Wilson - Contributing columnist



We have covered this topic before, but I think it is worth repeating over, and over, and over again.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment by the U.S. Intelligence Community, an annual report of threats to the United States, warns that homegrown extremists are probably the most significant terrorist threat to the homeland this year.

The entire report is even more disturbing. In short, the United States and its assets around the world are facing a multiplicity of threats from terrorist organizations. These enemies are busy devising new weapons and strategies. Hopefully, they will never get to use them, but make no mistake about it, no part of our country or sectors of the economy are off-limits to terrorists. This includes rural America and U.S. agriculture.

There is no question we have to have a safe supply of food as well as a safe supply of water. Those are somewhat easy targets for the terrorist community to look at.

A white paper written in 2002 by University of Minnesota economics professor C. Ford Runge outlined threats to livestock and crops from biological weapons. Among top concerns were the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease in feedlots and the spread of deadly pathogens, like anthrax, on fruit and vegetables. Another threat was the contamination of corn and soybean oil to disrupt all downstream users and manufacturers of processed foods.

Runge concluded in 2002 that it would be hard for terrorists to do serious damage to the American food system because of its diffuse nature. It’s so big and spread out. However, it would still be possible for terrorists to cause widespread consumer panic, loss of trade and economic harm.

The current threat analysis raises greater concern for weapons of mass destruction, like ones that could be used against agricultural production and water supplies. The report says, “Research in genome editing conducted by countries with different regulatory or ethical standards than those of Western countries probably increases the risk of the creation of potentially harmful biological agents or products.”

Terrorists consider America’s agriculture and food production tempting targets. They have noticed that its food supply is among the most vulnerable and least protected of all potential targets of attack. When American and allied forces overran al Qaeda sanctuaries in the caves of eastern Afghanistan in 2002, among the thousands of documents they discovered were U.S. agricultural documents and al Qaeda training manuals targeting agriculture.

Usama Bin Ladin consistently had argued that attacking the U.S. economy represented the best way to destroy America’s ability to project military power abroad.

Agriculture may not represent terrorists’ first choice of targets because it lacks the shock factor of more traditional attacks; however, it comprises the largest single sector in the U.S. economy and such terrorist groups as al Qaeda have made economic and trade disruption key goals.

Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!

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By Dan Wilson

Contributing columnist

Owner of Wilson 1 Communications,Dan Wilson is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years and both the cohost and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports including locally for 92.1 the Frog WFGF Lima. [email protected]

Owner of Wilson 1 Communications,Dan Wilson is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years and both the cohost and producer of “In Ohio Country Today,” a nationally recognized television show, and offers radio commentary and ag reports including locally for 92.1 the Frog WFGF Lima. [email protected]