December 01, 2022

President signs memorandum to strengthen food and ag sector

President signs memorandum to strengthen food and ag sector

By: Sydney Sheffield 

President Biden has signed the National Security Memorandum on Strengthening the Security and Resilience of United States Food and Agriculture. The memorandum builds on the Biden Administration’s ongoing work to ensure Americans have access to safe, affordable food, that US producers can get their goods to market, and that the US food and agricultural system is better prepared for threats that may harm the health of crops and livestock and cause shocks to the cost or availability of food.

The memorandum instructs top government officials to identify threats and coordinate with federal, state, local, and tribal governments to develop responses. Threats to be assessed include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats, pandemics impacting the sector’s critical infrastructure and essential workforce, foreign animal diseases, consequences of climate change, and threats in the cyber domain. 

“The food and agriculture sector is extensive, interconnected, diverse, and complex. Designated as critical infrastructure and primarily owned and operated by the private sector and non-Federal entities, food and agriculture systems and supply chains are vulnerable to disruption and damage from domestic and global threats,” the memorandum says. “The evolving threat environment requires the sector and its essential workforce to better prepare for and respond to incidents with broad impacts on our national and economic security.”

The goals of the memorandum include: 

  • Identifying and assessing the threats of the greatest consequence

  • Strengthening partnerships to enhance the resilience of the workforce

  • Enhance preparedness and response

The signing of the memorandum was celebrated by those in the agriculture industry. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Colin Woodall said, “Our agricultural sector faces a variety of threats that could inhibit cattle producers’ ability to bring beef from pasture to plate. NCBA appreciates the Biden administration’s focus on identifying threats and developing new ways to mitigate them. Together, we can protect our industry while ensuring that all Americans have access to wholesome foods like beef. I am particularly pleased to hear that the administration is making security and resiliency decisions based on data. These data-driven decisions are the ones we can support.”