With spring planting just around the corner, and in the wake of our sustained heightened national security alert since 9-11, it's timely asking farmers to remain vigilant in protecting the quality and quantity of our food supply from possible terrorist intervention, however remote we might think that possibility to be.
Because so much time has passed, we've all more or less fallen asleep on this volatile possibility following the 9-11 aftermath. However, the subject keeps coming up in political circles and global communications that our nation's food source and those who provide it are two prized targets for the sicko terrorists out there who have no regard for human life, not even their own.
As a reminder, the following are some important safeguards for farmers to adhere to:
1) Familiarize yourself with local security personnel and update phone numbers of local law enforcement officials. Provide copies of maps of your facilities that indicate service shut-off locations, security areas and other areas of vulnerability.
2) Stay alert and report any suspicious or unusual behavior that takes place in or around your farms. Increase surveillance of your operations. Evaluate every request for information about your facility and ask for references.
3) Ensure that access to your operation is controlled and escort visitors at all times.
4) Make sure that basic security measures are met by locking office doors and filing cabinets. Lock livestock facilities, fences and gates so outsiders cannot come in contact with your animals.
5) Watch for warning signs that your operation may be a target.
6) Contact your local veterinarian to discuss additional biosecurity methods and to report any unusual animal health issues.
This is good advice and pertains to all those involved in all facets of production agriculture, the key words being, "Stay alert!"
Because, in today's world, you just never know.