The USDA is testing its protocol in the event of bioterrorism, and the National Pork Producers Council president-elect Jon Caspers participated. The event took place on Sept. 30 and was designed to help USDA characterize its ability to effectively deal with a possible attack on agriculture and its infrastructure.

Caspers joined other leaders from agricultural commodity groups, government, academia and state delegations in the meeting.

The “Crimson Sky” exercise is the first of a six-part series of simulations intended to give USDA and other governmental leadership insight into the issues and constraints confronting the department, the interagency and affected states in a bioterrorism scenario. Crimson Sky, follows a previous simulation held last year called “Dark Winter,” which was conducted as a mock National Security Council meeting in reaction to a fictional smallpox attack in the United States.

“I’m honored to have been included as part of the Crimson Sky exercise,”
says Caspers. “It’s important to participate in this type of forum to assist in combating the public’s fear and the spread of misinformation about bioterrorism.” Caspers adds that it’s difficult to respond and make critical decisions without the most current information.

“Participating in the simulation reminds those of us in agriculture that we will need to be vigilant and prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he says.

Caspers is a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa.

National Pork Producers Council