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Homeland Security Seminar on Agroterrorism

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Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 12:33 pm | Updated: 1:05 pm, Mon Aug 5, 2013.

Jennifer Catuso works for the Florida Department of Agriculture. She says chances are you don't give much thought to agroterrorism.

"I don't think people are aware as they should be, I don't think they realize how vulnerable we really are," Catuso said.

But Jennifer realizes it, that's why she and dozens of others from around Florida came to Manatee County for a course on heading off- or recovering from-- an attack on our food supply.

"It can be an attack on the animal population with a foreign animal disease, it can be attacks on crops--a plant disease or pest, or can be contamination of food in restaurants and grocery stores or in a manufacturing environment, those are kind of the three scenarios we think about," said Agroterrorism trainer Art Johnstone.

Johnstone teaches agroterrorism courses around the state.

He says it's important to spread the word before it's too late.

"We do know terrorists have plans against food and agriculture targets and we've been lucky to a great degree," he said.

But as Jennifer Catuso will tell you, that luck could easily run out.

"I think this is a real vulnerable point for us in this country, and we need to address it, before rather than after," she said.

After 9/11, Homeland Security gave $100 million a year to Florida in terrorism funding, now that number is about $6 million.

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