House Ag holds hearing on Ag, national security | TSLN.com

House Ag holds hearing on Ag, national security

The House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on the relationship between agriculture and national security.

"The bottom line is that a nation that can feed and provide for itself is inherently safer than a nation that cannot," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said in a statement after the hearing.

"The United States is blessed with an abundant and safe food supply, thanks to more than 2 million farmers and ranchers who dutifully tend to their fields and pastures," Conaway said.

"Many countries around the globe periodically, or constantly, face the threat of food instability that leads to hunger and starvation. By surveying these global issues, as well as domestic threats like pests, disease, and economic threats, it's easy to see the interconnectedness of a stable food supply and national security."

“The bottom line is that a nation that can feed and provide for itself is inherently safer than a nation that cannot.” Michael Conaway, House Agriculture Committee chairman

House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., noted that the hearing allowed the committee to examine "the threats and any vulnerability to agriculture and the economic impact these could have"

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Peterson said he had a particular interest in highly pathogenic or "high path" avian influenza.

John Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador now with McLarty Associates, focused his testimony on the recently released Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Food Security, along with two Development of Homeland Security Presidential Directives —"Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization and Protection" and HSPD-9, "Defense of United States Agriculture and Food."

Tammy Beckham, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, said she backed a recent commission call for the formation of a White House Biodefense Council composed of representatives from federal agencies, stakeholders and private industry.

–The Hagstrom Report

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