OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Web survey collecting producer opinions on biosecurity

09/06/2002

CORVALLIS - Do agricultural producers think a bioterrorist attack might strike water, livestock, crops or the U.S. food supply? How can they prepare for or respond to such incidents?

A web-based survey is asking producers across Oregon and the rest of the country for their opinions on such biosecurity and agroterrorism topics.

Earlier this year, the national Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) received funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide homeland security education for farm and non-farm industries and individuals.

Results of the web survey of producers will tell Extension what types of educational programs it should offer on agricultural biosecurity, according to Peter Bloome, associate director of the Oregon State University Extension Service.

To take the survey, producers may visit the EDEN website at: http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/eden and click on "Homeland Security Surveys," then click on "Survey of Ag and Horticulture Producers."

The survey is anonymous and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. It can be completed anywhere producers have access to the web, including local libraries and county offices of the OSU Extension Service.

"There is disagreement among experts concerning the risks that bioterrorism poses to farming and the food supply in the United States," said OSU's Bloome, an EDEN delegate. "Regardless of the disagreement, we must give attention to any possibility of disruption of the American food supply."

The EDEN project will help measure agricultural producers' perceptions about biosecurity issues on the farm.

"In recent months, the news media shared information about homeland security," said Bloome. "But the questions and debate raised by that information only can be answered by targeted educational programs."