Possible attacks on the U.S. food supply are a very real threat to livestock producers, according to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
The ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee spoke at the 10th Annual Animal Agriculture Alliance summit. He said the recent death of Osama bin Laden should serve as a reminder that other terrorists still exist.
"One very real threat is a possible attack on our food supply," he said. "Everyone agrees that it’s not a matter of if, but when."
Roberts said keeping government agencies focused on sharing threats has been a priority and will continue to be one. His comments fit into the theme of the alliance’s conference, "United We Eat: Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future." The summit brings together industry leaders from across the country to discuss challenges and opportunities in food production.
Roberts was among more than a dozen speakers who talked about food security, challenges presented by animal rights activists, and how to improve animal agriculture’s image.
In addition to potential breaches in food security, Roberts said, one of the main issues farmers face is over-regulation by government. He said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "has been called the End of Production Agriculture agency."
Congress is "making real efforts to address over-regulation," he said. In January President Obama signed an executive order that would require federal agencies to design cost-effective, evidence-based regulations that are compatible with economic growth, job creation and competitiveness.
In February, Roberts introduced the Regulatory Responsibility for Our Economy Act, which he said would ensure that the president’s executive order is carried out. The senator said that farmers need all the help they can get, because as the world population increases, farmers are going to have to double their production.
"We should give producers the tools to get this done," Roberts said. "If we don’t, there will be 9.3 billion people in the world with serious problems."