"We're going to be looking at the full spectrum of agrosecurity issues," Vanier said. "We will emphasize diseases identified by the government as zoonotic and/or ones particularly threatening to U.S. agriculture and its infrastructure.
"Those include foot and mouth disease, avian influenza and exotic Newcastle disease," she said.
Federal, state, non-profit and private industry groups will be contacted, in search of response lessons.
An initial list of agencies the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center will contact includes several U.S. Department of Agriculture services, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Fire Academy, U.S. Northern Command, states, professional organizations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, the National War College, and foreign agricultural and food safety agencies.
"Once we have compiled the agricultural bioterrorism lessons," Vanier said, "we will adapt existing software and technologies to handle agrosecurity issues and to be used by emergency management personnel at all levels who need to access such agrosecurity information."
Plans are to create an integrated system accessible to the end-users via the Internet. The lessons learned database, real time content aggregations, and continuing education Web site applications will give veterinarians, county extension agents, food producers and processors, public health officials and others, an environment in which they can access relatively static data and also dynamic, relevant real time information, she explained.
"Having the critical information at the ready -- this library of what works and how to do it -- will empower the nation's first responders with knowledge, skills and capabilities to act effectively in the face of an agroterrorism incident," Vanier sa
Contact: Marty Vanier, DVM
Kansas State University