The potential of terrorist attacks against agricultural targets (agroterrorism) is increasingly recognized as a national security threat, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. Agroterrorism is a subset of bioterrorism, and is defined as the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease with the goal of generating fear, causing economic losses, and/or undermining social stability. This report outlines the probable strategic reasoning behind agroterrorism, the vulnerabilities of the agriculture industry, and the funding and legislation behind several preventive Congressional measures.
Leading markets for U.S. agricultural exports are Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, the European Union (EU), Taiwan, and Korea. The United States dominates world markets for corn, wheat, and cotton. Most U.S. agricultural imports are high-value products. The biggest import suppliers are Canada and the EU. Among the fastest-growing markets for U.S. agricultural exports are Canada and Mexico. Both the EU and the U.S. subsidize their agricultural sectors, but overall the EU out subsidizes the U.S. The U.S. has the most diverse food aid programs; others limit food aid to development assistance and emergencies.
Fish and marine mammals are important resources in open ocean and nearshore coastal areas; many federal laws and regulations guide their management. This report discusses a variety of laws and legislation pertaining to this issue.
The potential of terrorist attacks against agricultural targets (agroterrorism) is increasingly recognized as a national security threat, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. This report focuses primarily on biological weapons (rather than chemical weapons) because biological weapons generally are considered the more potent agroterrorism threat. This report also focuses more on the threat of agroterrorism against agricultural production, rather than on food processing and distribution, although the latter is discussed.