Illinois partnership aims to stop the threat of agro-terrorism

An Illinois partnership between agriculture organizations and law enforcement agencies hopes to protect Illinois food systems, farms and consumers from the threats of agro-terrorism.

The Illinois Agro-Security Working Group looks to raise awareness of these issues among those in the food production and agriculture industries. The group, which is a service of the Illinois Farm Bureau, was created to educate farmers on how best to report, recognize and prevent terrorist and criminal activities related to Illinois agriculture, Drovers reports.

"Illinois farms are more vulnerable to terrorist activity than most people realize," Dave Patton, the field operations manager with the IFB, said, according to "There have been some cases in other states where a person noticing suspicious behavior has helped capture a would-be terrorist, so we know agro-terrorism is a real threat."

A brochure has been given to agriculture producers in the state that provides information and resources in the battle against agro-terrorism, including how to report suspicious activities and the signs of illnesses.

"The brochure doesn't necessarily provide farmers with a comprehensive list of things to watch for, but it certainly gives them a good starting point," Jim Kaitschuk, the executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association, said, according to "Ultimately, our producers know their animals and their operations better than anyone else and they need to be the instigators when it comes to reporting any potential threat."

Other organizations involved in the group aside from the FBI and the IFB include the Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Beef Association and the Midwest Dairy Association.