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Agroterrorism: A Mixed Methods Study Examining the Attitudes and Perceptions of Utah Producers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 14(3): 273-282. (doi: 10.13031/2013.24563) @2008
Authors:   R. L. Miller, C. Israelsen, J. Jensen
Keywords:   Agroterrorism, Farmers, Ranchers, Security measures

Geographic disbursement, unsecured environments, and the concentration and commingling of agricultural products make agriculture a vulnerable target for a terrorist attack. To counter an act of agroterrorism, efforts are needed at the organism level, the farm level, the agricultural sector level, and the national level. Producers and the measures they take are essential in countering an attack at the farm level. However, producers may question the need for security measures, especially if they feel that their farm or ranch is an unlikely target. The attitudes and perceptions of Utah agricultural producers towards agroterrorism were examined in a mixed methods study using a QUAN-QUAL model. Twenty-five producers were purposefully selected to provide a cross-section of Utah agriculture. All participants filled out a questionnaire followed by a face-to-face interview in which they were asked to rate their level of concern about an act of agroterrorism at the farm, state, and national level. They were also asked about any security measures that they had taken and why, the identification of highly transmissible diseases, and their willingness to implement security measures. Producers were most concerned about an act of agroterrorism at the national level and least concerned about an act of agroterrorism occurring on their farm or ranch. Although many of the producers had implemented some security measures within the last year, most actions were in response to vandalism. More efforts are needed to educate Utah producers regarding highly transmissible diseases and their symptoms.

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