The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released a new voluntary security guidance document for truck transporters of agricultural and food productsto bolster national security and safeguard public health.
“These guidelines are practical, flexible and proactive,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jim Moseley during the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Agricultural and Food Transporters’ Conference (AFTC) being held here. “USDA developed this document in partnership with ATA/AFTC and it serves as a great example of how successful we can be when government and the private sector work together on homeland security. This partnership will serve as a model for future efforts.”
The Guide for Security Practices in Transporting Agricultural and Food Commodities is designed to enhance security measures practiced by the nation’s approximately 27,000 commercial transporters of agricultural and food-related products across the nation each year. Trucking is the common denominator that moves a rich diversity of materials – food as well as fertilizers, livestock as well as fresh and frozen produce, building materials as well as farming equipment – and provides a vital link in the farm to table continuum.
As part of the partnership, the ATA/AFTC undertook a major survey of 24,000 commercial food and agriculture transporters on their concerns regarding security, terrorism, and where and how to get information. The survey results helped in the development of the guide and informed the identification of additional security options aimed at enhancing protections already in practice across the industry to safeguard people, property, products, processes, information, and information systems.
The release of the guide is especially timely, as fall traditionally brings increased transportation service demands with the agricultural harvest season and the start of preparations and deliveries for the winter and holiday retail season.
This guide follows the same approach as other guidance offered by USDA for food producers, processors and providers. All are consistent with and in support of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-9, Defense of United States Agriculture and Food and are available at www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity/homeland.html. The ATA/AFTC Web site offers information for acquiring the guide in print or on CD-Rom at www.truckline.com/cc/conferences/atc.