In a recent interview with AgriTalk Radio, Doug Meckes, director of Food, Agriculture and Veterinary Defense, Department of Homeland Security, says protection of the nation’s agriculture industry and food safety is a high priority.

The interview was conducted at the American Veterinary Medical Association convention held last week in St. Louis.

 “Agriculture is a system of systems,” said Meckes. ”DHS is active and vigorously engaged in protecting agriculture and our food supply.  In 2010, for the first time ever, our critical assets protection program had 125 Level 2 agriculture assets identified.”

With the identification of these critical agriculture assets, FEMA grants as well as education and training will increase for protection of those assets. “The issue of greatest concern is a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak,” said Meckes. “The USDA has the lead on that effort and we stand in support of them.”