"The potential of terrorist attacks against agricultural targets (agroterrorism) is increasingly recognized as a national security threat, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. Agroterrorism is a subset of bioterrorism, and is defined as the deliberate introduction of an animal or plant disease with the goal of generating fear, causing economic losses, and/or undermining stability. Attacks against agriculture are not new, and have been conducted or considered by both nation-states and substate organizations throughout history. Congress has held hearings on agroterrorism and enacted laws and appropriations with agroterrorism-related provisions. The executive branch has responded by implementing the new laws, issuing several presidential directives, and creating liaison and coordination offices. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has studied several issues related to agroterrorism. Appropriations and user fees for USDA homeland security activities have about doubled from a $156 million 'pre-September 11' baseline in FY2002 to $325 million in FY2004. Two supplemental appropriations acts added nearly $110 million in both FY2002 and FY2003. For FY2005, the department is requesting $651 million in appropriations and user fees. On July 13, 2004, the House passed the FY2005 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 4766), including several agroterrorism items. In addition to appropriations activity for agroterrorism preparedness, two bills addressing agroterrorism preparedness have been introduced in the 108th Congress, S. 427 (the Agriculture Security Assistance Act) and S. 430 (the Agriculture Security Preparedness Act). This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32521