Through vigilance, livestock producers can play an important role in heading off   agroterrrorism.

At last month’s International Symposium on Agroterrorism, several speakers urged producers and foodprocessors to report suspicious behavior to law-enforcement officials. The Federal Bureau of Investigation put on the event and Vance Publishing, Pork magazine’s parent company, helped sponsor it.

Examples of suspicious behavior to watch for include:

  • Someone taking “unauthorized” photos of your facilities.
  • Disgruntled employees making threats. Don’t be lulled into thinking they’re not serious.
  • Unusual signs or symptoms in any animals.
  • Activities involving animal rights groups or individuals.
  • Suspicious communications that are surfacing via e-mail or telephone.
  • Evidence that someone is watching or scoping out the operation.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is endorsing a new program known as AGROGUARD, which is a collaborative effort of law enforcement, industry and academia. AGROGUARD is similar to a neighborhood-watch program. Producers and food processors in Kansas post purple-and-white metal signs proclaiming, “We report all suspicious activity.” Phone numbers to report such behavior are included on the signs.

James Lane, under-sheriff for the Ford County Kansas Sheriff’s Department, said the signs serve as a deterrent. They also raise awareness among producers, the public and the law-enforcement community about the possibility of an agroterrorist attack.

Lane says when it comes to agroterrorism, law-enforcement officials may have to view things differently. “We are good at dealing with criminals who fear getting caught after the act,” he says. “I’m not sure how good we are with terrorists who fear getting caught before the act.”

For more information about AGROGUARD, call Lane at (620) 227-4590 or e-mail him at jlane@fordcounty.net.