May 17th, 2017
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Newsletter 5/17/17
When we hear the word terrorism, we almost never think farms. We don't think about the possibility of a deliberate mass food contamination. We don't think about the danger of a major disease outbreak in the agricultural sector.
But we should.
As a leader of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, I want to make sure our country is prepared for all possible threats to our nation's security, that's why I've teamed up with my Republican colleague and Kansas neighbor Senator Pat Roberts to introduce an agro-terrorism prevention bill. Our legislation would address the threat of agro-terrorism and help to make sure that the food that winds up on Missourians' dinner tables is safe to eat.
Our state has almost 100,000 farms spread across more than 28 million acres. We have an agriculture industry that generates $88.4 billion each year for the state's economy, and Missouri is a top-10 producer of rice, corn, cotton, sorghum, and soybeans in the country... and it's potentially at risk.
In 2002, an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in the United Kingdom led to the slaughter of 6 million animals and an economic loss estimated between $10 and $20 billion. In 1997, an outbreak in Taiwan led to the killing of 4 million hogs and an economic hit of $7 billion. And just last year, 400,000 birds had to be euthanized at 10 Indiana poultry farms due to a bird flu outbreak.
National security experts have warned that the same could happen here and with even greater consequences—which is why we need to be prepared. Missouri is home to nearly 100,000 farms, and the agriculture industry employs hundreds of thousands of Missourians. We've got to be prepared for threats to farmers and ranchers in order to protect our state and our national security as a whole. And that's exactly what our new legislation would achieve.
Help me spread the word online! Share on Twitter and Facebook, because protecting our farmland has never been more important.
All the best,