A participant in the Montana Extension Disaster Education Network

This new program seeks to assist agricultural producers in preparing for all emergencies, as well as identifying where to get assistance during and after an event.  Emergencies could be the result of bad weather, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, transportation accidents, or as a result of deliberate and malicious acts.  In any case, a quick organized response to an emergency event will help protect human health and life while reducing or preventing animal disease and death, crop and facilities damage and economic loss.

Deliberate acts do not necessarily mean attacks by an organized terrorist group or independent agents and “copycats.”  The perpetrator could also be a disgruntled or former employee.  Regardless of the culprit or motivation, aspects of agricultural production may be susceptible; plans for security, prevention of attacks and recovery should be in place at the ranch, farm and local community level.

The term agro-security specifically refers to intentional acts, while agro-safety refers to general accidents or acts of nature.  Both of these issues fall under the auspices of agro-emergency preparedness.  Another related term is bio-security, this refers to management that attempts to prevent introduction of disease causing organisms or pests to an agricultural operation.

A participant in the Montana Extension Disaster Education Network

Many historic and successful programs involving Extension relate to emergency preparedness and agro–security.  Likewise, producers are familiar with other management programs that may include emergency plans as well as plans to limit spread of disease, adulterated commodities and food, or food born illness. Examples include: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) for meat processors, Beef Quality Assurance, Agricultural Environmental Management Systems, and Manure and Nutrient Management plans for AFOs.

Multiple county agents across the state provide agrosecurity programming and volunteer with emergency response in their communities.

The Montana Agro–Emergency Preparedness Committee is a group of local, state, federal and tribal entities that serve as an advisory committee on the preparation for and response to agricultural emergencies involving plants, animals and food. The primary members of this committee are listed below.

Montana Agencies

Fish Wildlife and Parks Department of Livestock
Dept. of Public Health and Human Services Department of Agriculture
Disaster and Emergency Services  

Key federal agencies involved in preparation and response to agricultural/food emergencies are listed below.

Federal Agencies

USDA–APHIS Vet services USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
USDA–APHIS Plant Protection USDA Food and Drug Administration

While MSU is developing more Montana specific agro–emergency resources, EDEN serves as a national clearinghouse of Extension materials and contacts.

Extension/Land Grant Resources and Contacts

Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Montana EDEN
Great Plains Diagnostic Network — plants Foreign Animal & Zoonotic Disease Center

Of course a first line of contact in emergencies is the local response number or 911 where available.