June 15, 2004
June 2004 -- Texas A&M University and the University of Minnesota have been chosen to lead two new Homeland Security Centers of Excellence on agro-security.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anticipates providing both institutions and their partners with a total of $33 million over the course of the next three years to address security in two key agricultural sectors: food security and foreign animal diseases.
"Protecting our food and agriculture systems is a top priority for President Bush," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "Research conducted at these institutions will greatly enhance our ability to protect against animal and plant pests and diseases and food pathogens."
DHS anticipates providing Texas A&M University and its partners with $18 million during the next three years for the study of high consequence foreign animal and zoonotic diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, Rift Valley fever and avian influenza.
The University of Minnesota's HS-Center, known as the University Center for Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense, will address agro-security issues related to post-harvest food protection. DHS anticipates providing it and its partners with $15 million during the next three years to establish best practices and to attract new researchers to manage and respond to food contamination events, both intentional and naturally occurring.