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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU co-hosts Biosecurity Agro-Incident Response Training

ALBUQUERQUE - Law enforcement officers and first responders will gather at the Albuquerque Convention Center Sept. 21-22 for detailed instruction on biosecurity and agro-incident response topics.

by New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Mexico Office of Homeland Security, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the City of Albuquerque, the free training was developed by the U.S. Attorney's Biosecurity Subcommittee. It is geared to line and supervisory personnel who would likely assist in response to an incident that impacts the food supply.

"This training conference will offer presentations by federal and state agents and prosecutors on the practical and legal aspects of responding to and investigating criminal-related agricultural incidents," said U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias.

During the conference, a working lunch Sept. 22 will feature a multi-media presentation on real world agro-related incidents.

Among those scheduled to speak on Sept. 21, Dr. Steve Van Wie, a veterinarian, will make a presentation on the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of 2001 in the United Kingdom. Robert Hull, technical director of the Unconventional Warfare Defense Programs at Los Alamos Technical Associates will discuss "Agroterrorism Weapons of Choice." Dr. Heidi Kassenborg, Disease Investigation and Emergency Response Director for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, will present "Biosecurity Incident Impact on Produce Production and Distribution."

On Sept. 22, speakers from the New Mexico Livestock Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will focus on responses to biosecurity incidents. John Wheeler, chief counsel for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, will discuss "Legal Aspects of Overt and Coincidental Contamination Incidents."

A panel of experts will discuss law enforcement responses to biosecurity incidents and Dr. Paul Ettestad, State Public Health veterinarian, will present "Avian Flu Response and Health Implications." A panel of law enforcement officials will discuss law enforcement's role in an agricultural incident.

Caren Cowan, executive director of New Mexico Cattlegrowers, and Jeff Witte, director of the Office of Agriculture Biosecurity in the New Mexico Department of Agriculture's Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center, will present "Importance of Total Community Involvement in Agrosecurity."

Participants will be eligible for 10 hours of continuing law enforcement education credit hours. Participants will receive mileage for private vehicles and per diem to defray the cost of attendance.

Registration may be done online at http://cahe.nmsu.edu/registration/law/registration.php. For more information, call Billy Dictson, director of the Office of Biosecurity in NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics at (505) 646-4402. Registration deadline is Sept. 13.

Darrell J. Pehr
Sept. 8, 2006