Bipartisan bills address cybersecurity threats to food and ag sectors

Bills would require agriculture secretary to help conduct biannual study of threats and vulnerabilities.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

January 30, 2024

2 Min Read

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark. introduced legislation Monday that they say will strengthen cybersecurity for the food and agriculture industry. Their announcement came after Reps. Brad Finstad, R- Minn., and Elissa Slotkin, D- Mich., introduced similar legislation in the House on Friday.

The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act would require the secretary of agriculture to work with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to conduct a biannual study of threats and vulnerabilities within the agriculture and food industries. The agriculture secretary would also be required to conduct annual crisis simulation exercises with his counterparts in the Homeland Security Department, and Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Director of National Intelligence.

“Protecting our nation’s farms and food security against cyberattacks is a vital component of our national security,” Gillibrand said. “The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act is a crucial step toward preparing our nation’s agriculture sector to respond to potential cyberattacks. I am committed to ensuring our American agriculture sector is ready to defend against these cyber threats and look forward to working with my colleagues to get this important bill passed.”

Congressman Finstad commented: “Food and farm security is national security. With growing threats at home and abroad, it is increasingly important that we ensure our nation’s agriculture sector and food supply chain remain secure. I am proud to join Rep. Slotkin and Senator Cotton in introducing the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act, which will provide us with a greater understanding of the susceptibility of our country’s food supply to cyberattacks, and more importantly, help us prevent these attacks from occurring in the future.”

The legislation has already been endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, North American Millers Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, USA Rice, Agricultural Retailers Association, American Sugar Alliance, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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