In January 2013, the Winnebago Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in partnership with Win-Bur-Sew Fire Department hosted an information meeting on “Agricultural Security & Terrorism”. The presentation was given by Steffan Nass, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator- FBI’s Springfield Division.
Agro-Terrorism is defined as the deliberate introduction, use, or threatened use, of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive agent against one or more components of the food or agriculture sectors, with the goal of causing mortality or morbidity, generating fee, precipitating economic loss, or undermining sector stability and confidence in government.
Here are a few indicators of Agro-Terrorism.
Agricultural Retail Facilities should report any of the following:
Producers and Auction Markets should report any of the following:
Aerial Applicators should report any tampering or attempts to purchase or rent aircraft or chemicals.
Suspicious signs and symptoms of illnesses in employees should be reported to your local health department. Health officials should be made aware of the emergency, normal duties and any contact with sick animals that may have led to the illness. Details of contact with feed products, medical supplies, or chemicals that the employee may have had contact with should also be noted.
Suspicious signs and symptoms of illnesses in animals (such as blistering or ruptured blisters around the mouth, nose, teats, or hooves; central nervous system disorders that prevent the animal from rising or walking normally; loss of appetite and conditioning; swelling around the eyes and neck in poultry; dramatic drop in egg or milk production; large number of dead insects, rodents or wildlife; and unusual ticks or maggots) should be reported to your veterinarian.
If a crime is in progress, CALL 9-1-1 immediately. If you have information about a crime, or to report suspicious activity, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (217) 522-9675. The following information is needed:
This information was provided by the Illinois Agro-Security Working Group. The Illinois Agro-Security Working group is a partnership between frontline agricultural industry personnel and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for the purpose of preventing criminal and terrorist activities in and around Illinois agriculture and food systems. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Fertilizer Chemical Association, Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture form the Illinois Agro-Security Working Group.
Summer season is upon us, that means heat waves are here. Over the next few months farmers will be working longer hours—starting their days before sunrise without resting until long after sunset. The pressure to keep going can be intense and can lead to accidents, injuries and even death especially when days reach record high temperatures.
This season COUNTRY Financial® is urging farmers to take extra caution and to keep a close watch on their health. The number of accidents and deaths are disturbing but much can be done to curb them.
The leading sources of ag-related deaths
· 25 percent involve machinery
· 17 percent involve motor vehicles (including ATV’s)
· 16 percent involve drowning
“Farmers are always anxious to get their work done. They work on tight deadlines, are often up against poor weather and numerous other setbacks—but they need to remember to take care of themselves,” said Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative at COUNTRY Financial.
Easy to follow tips for farmers
1. Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve machinery. Make sure your equipment is maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
2. Make sure you understand how to safely handle the chemicals you use. Keep chemicals in their original, marked containers. Make sure everyone working on your farm is trained in safely handling them and understands emergency procedures.
3. Avoid driving machinery on roads at dawn and dusk. Most accidents happen during these times of day as they are peak commuting times for drivers.
4. Tell family and helping hands where you will be working and when. Keep the lines of communication open. Also, have a cell phone or walkie-talkie on you in case of emergencies or accidents.
5. Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of fluids and have healthy snacks on hand to keep your energy levels up. Do not push yourself past healthy limits. Accidents are more likely to happen once fatigue sets in.
6. Familiarize yourself with how your prescriptions and over the counter medications affect you. Some medications and machinery do not mix. Consult your doctor if your medications impair your ability to safely operate your equipment.
“Farmers should make their safety a priority,” Vanasdale said. “Accidents happen when we’re tired, distracted, stressed and rushed. Farmers shouldn’t overlook the quality of their health or put their safety second to the job at hand.”
To help increase farm safety awareness, COUNTRY Financial developed the video, “Take Care Out There,” which illustrates the dangers farmers face each year. You are encouraged to watch and share the video to keep the conversation going about farm safety and health.
About COUNTRY Financial®
The COUNTRY Financial group (countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States and offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home, business, farm and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.
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