July 5, 2011
Kansas Department of Agriculture
(785) 296-2653 phone
Kansas Dairy Industry Prepares for Emergencies
The Kansas Department of Agriculture led an assessment of the Kansas dairy industry to assist in emergency planning. The assessment, completed in June 2011, used the Food and Agriculture Sector Criticality Assessment Tool (FAS-CAT) to identify and prioritize critical segments of the Kansas dairy chain.
“Kansas produces approximately 2.4 billion pounds of milk annually which is transported to milk processing plants located within Kansas as well as many other states,” said Kansas Department of Agriculture Dairy Program Manager George Blush. “The dairy industry plays a key role in our state economy, and taking the necessary steps to assess and protect this important industry is a priority.”
Representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas State University, Midwest Dairy Association, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Division of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) participated in the assessment. The process involved looking at the dairy chain as a whole, including production, transportation and processing, to identify potential threats to each segment. Examples of potential threats range from a severe weather event to intentional contamination. The FAS-CAT tool aids in preparing for an agriculture emergency. This assessment does not collect site specific or business protected information.
"Bringing stakeholders together to identify potential threats and their impact on agriculture has been a great learning experience for all involved,” said Kansas Department of Agriculture Emergency Management Coordinator Sandy Johnson. “It helps our federal partners understand the various agricultural systems and gives us more information we can use in the protection of critical infrastructure."
This process provides emergency planners and DHS with information about various threats and consequences that could impact dairy farms, milk transportation and processing operations. This increases the probability that dairy systems are included in the nation’s critical infrastructure inventory. Once added to the inventory, additional funding may become available to help local and state officials mitigate and prepare for threats that may impact dairy operations.
Food and agriculture was recognized as critical infrastructure in 2004 when Presidential Directive Number 9 was issued by the Bush administration. Prior to this, there was no DHS funding available to prepare for threats to the nation’s agriculture and food systems.
The assessment is the second one of its type completed for Kansas agriculture. In 2010, a similar assessment was conducted with the Kansas beef cattle system. If you have any questions, contact Sandy Johnson at 785-296-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.