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TIFTON, Ga. -- Georgia has become the latest state to step up efforts toward making its food supply more secure. The state's agro-terrorism committee, which began training county agricultural agents here this week, is creating a network of 3,500 emergency workers, farmers, and veterinarians who would respond to terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
The program could become a model for other states, according to press reports, as part of its significance is to protect Georgia's $42 billion agricultural industry from economic disaster.
Speakers at this week's training event told the agricultural agents that terrorists could include religious fanatics, unstable people, animal-rights activists, and ransom seekers using inexpensive, low-tech gear.
The speakers also referred to the psychological and political consequences that follow such events.
"Any time you have an impact on the food supply, you get a lot of people upset," said Bill Thomas, a retired University of Georgia agricultural economist who serves on the agro-terrorism committee. "If people have no meat or milk to drink, people are going to get upset. That's why we need people to respond quickly and effectively."
For more information on how the U.S. food industry and other states are getting involved in food security, read the March 1 cover story from Progressive Grocer, "Security Check."