February 26, 2007

What the Farmer Should Know About Biological Warfare

Ag writer Stewart Truelsen always seems to have his head screwed on straight when he writes about current events. This article, Agriculture on Alert, published in the American Farm Bureau's Voice of Agriculture, is no exception. While it is mostly an update on the revived BioWatch program, now run by the Department of Homeland Security, it also reviews some interesting history of agricultural and food supply terrorism.
American farmers are vulnerable to biological warfare attacks by enemy agents or airplanes carrying disease-laden mists and destructive chemicals. This may sound like a message from the Department of Homeland Security, but the warning is more than 50 years old. It came from the Civil Defense Administration in 1954.

“What the Farmer Should Know About Biological Warfare” was the name of a civil defense booklet distributed by Farm Bureau and other organizations. The agency reminded farmers to be alert and report any signs of unusual crop or animal diseases.

Fast forward to today. The enemy has changed but the warning is still valid. Large U.S. cities have an early-warning system known as BioWatch – a program of the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I tried to find an on-line copy of the government pamphlet he mentions, but to no avail. The old feeder is fascinated by cold war history, especially if it is Civil Defense related. Perhaps I'll just have to break down and buy it.

For a short review of biowarfare down through the ages, visit this PBS Nova page. Did you know that Robert's Dairy built a cow fallout shelter in Elkhorn, Nebraska in 1963? It is still there, and served as an "underground bar" for many years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.