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Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

Lawmakers seek USDA Intelligence Office

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A group of lawmakers introduced legislation designed to establish an Office of Intelligence within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Agricultural Intelligence Measures (AIM) Act was introduced by Reps. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rick Allen (R-GA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jim Baird (R-IN), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Mike Turner (R-OH) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH).

The lawmakers indicated the effort would leverage the capabilities of the intelligence community to ensure the Secretary of Agriculture is fully informed of all imminent threats and domestic agriculture is safe from foreign and domestic threats.

“Because of the hard work of our farmers and researchers, Americans enjoy the most dependable food system in the world,” Crawford said. “However, the complex supply chain and invaluable nature of the agriculture industry means it is particularly vulnerable. Over the last year, we’ve all seen the chaos that can come from a single pathogen or uncertainty in the grocery store aisles. Agriculture security is national security, and the AIM Act is a critical first step to safer food, safer farms, and a safer future.”

The office would work to understand efforts to steal agriculture knowledge and technology and develop or implement biological warfare attacks, cyber or clandestine operations, or other means of sabotaging and disrupting the agriculture industry.

“One of my priorities in the 117th Congress is to ensure the protection of intellectual property in all sectors of the U.S. economy, including our agriculture industry,” Allen said. “We have seen foreign actors steal American intellectual property, and this legislation will strengthen our agriculture security by protecting America’s ag knowledge and technology.”