The director of the new state Center for Ag Security says there’s a troubling lack of communication from local to county to state government officials who’d respond to ag emergencies. Jane Colacecchi says she’ll work to ensure that local emergency management coordinators know all the local people who would be involved in a response to some sort of ag emergency, like an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or an act of agroterrorism. “Up to this point, the counties have somewhat independently done their response planning,” Colacecchi says. “Our efforts will provide them with a template and create continuity between all of the county agencies.” Colacecchi says she’s not suggesting that if there were an ag emergency in Iowa, Iowans would be endangered by this lack of coordination. “I want to assure Iowans that we’re safe and we’re prepared,” Colacecchi says. She says it’s just good management to try to make things work more smoothly. “We have found as we’ve worked through these plans over the last year that there are a lot of experts and a lot of entities who have done a lot of work in the area of agriculture security,” Colaccechi says. “What was really lacking was a coordinated effort between all of those entities.” The new Center for Ag Security was announced just last week as a way to coordinate the work of state agencies, but Colacecchi’s been on the Iowa Department of Agriculture staff for about two years, working on ag security issues.
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