The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine has established the Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness. The center will assist the United States in its efforts to protect agriculture and the food supply from terrorist threats.
The center will house the college's national training program that is being developed for the Department of Homeland Security on agriculture and food vulnerability assessment. Development of the training program is being funded by a $2 million grant the college received from DHS in September 2005. The college was one of 15 organizations to receive the highly competitive training grants.
The training program will provide industry and state, county, and local government officials across the country with tools to prevent and deter terrorist acts that target the agricultural and food sector. The training program became available at no cost to communities this fall.
"The center will provide a readily accessible Web portal for information on the DHS training program as well as showcase other college homeland security-related activities," said Dr. Sharon Thompson, project director for the DHS grant and other homeland security-related grants at the college.
"We plan to develop online and additional in-person training programs," Dr. Thompson said. The center will organize and host the second Foreign Animal and Emerging Diseases Training Course, which will be held in Knoxville, Tenn., in summer 2007.
Dr. Michael Blackwell, dean of the veterinary college, said, "The work that will come out of this center has the potential to affect each and every American, anyone who consumes food."
To learn more about the center, log on to www.vet.utk.edu/cafsp.