Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack this week said there isn’t enough money coming from the federal government to help states take adequate steps to prevent agri-terrorism. They’re always told “there are limited funds,” but he wonders why, asserting that “we’re allowing folks who are are very, very well off to receive additional tax relief at a time when we’ve got people at war, we’ve got people dying, we’ve got equipment needs, and we have concerns.” Vilsack points out how agriterrorism precautions are an important factor in homeland security. He says we should be concerned about things that could affect millions of people and devastate the economy. “Look what happened when there was one case of Mad Cow,” he suggests, saying cattle markets lost millions of dollars. “Imagine what would happen if all the cattle in Iowa were suspected of having Mad Cow Disease…can you imagine the panic that would create?” Vilsack says as important as it is to be prepared, it comes down to money. In order to have adequate equipment, you have to buy that equipment, and to have an ag security system in place you have to have workers, equipment and coordination — and all of that takes resources. Vilsack says when fifty-Million dollars is given to agriculture in one shot, while ten-point-eight-billion dollars goes to urban centers, “There’s obviously a disconnect here.” The governor said the USDA must improve laboratory testing and animal identification, as well as developing a plan for large-scale disposal of contaminated crops or animals. Vilsack hosted his second annual Governor’s Homeland Security Conference this week in Des Moines.
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