Montana State University

MSU Extension hosts National Community Agrosecurity Planning Workshop

April 13, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
Montana State University is hosting the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Planning (S-CAP) Workshop at Big Horn Resort in Billings on May 5-6, 2011.

Montana's history of wildfires, epic winters, and summer droughts reinforce the need for continued and improved emergency planning; unfortunately, agriculture is often one of the most overlooked components of a local emergency operations plan. While Montana farmers and ranchers have dealt with climate and weather over the years, the accidental or criminal introduction of a plant or animal disease is a threat to agriculture as well.

Agricultural assets are economically important, representing approximately one-fifth of the U.S. gross domestic product, and the number one industry in Montana. Additionally, Montana is one of the top producing states for such plant and animal commodities as wheat, barley, calves and sheep.

The S-CAP workshop is geared for community stakeholders who can assist in the enhancement of the local agricultural emergency operations plan. Individuals such as local emergency planning personnel, Extension educators, public health personnel, first responders, elected officials, veterinarians, agricultural producers, and volunteer organization representatives are all encouraged to attend.

Participants will work together in teams to develop the portion of their plan that deals with agriculture, natural resources, pets, and related issues. They will also work on standard operating guidelines and resource lists required for response to an agricultural emergency. To gain the most from the workshop, attendees should come with multiple colleagues and stakeholders from their community.

The May 5 and 6 edition of this workshop is based in Billings and intended to serve counties, reservations, and communities in south-central to southeast Montana. However, guests from anywhere in the state or region are welcome. Future workshops will be planned for other areas of the state.

Interested individuals should contact Tommy Bass, MSU Extension, at (406) 994-5733 or tmbass@montana.edu to reserve a space at the workshop. Registration is required, but the cost is free. The workshop is sponsored and funded nationally by USDA, and additionally in Montana by Disaster and Emergency Services, in cooperation with Department of Homeland Security. The full agenda and registration forms are available at http://mtagwatch.com. Deadline for registration is April 22, 2011.

More information about the EDEN S-CAP project can be found online at http://www.eden.lsu.edu/s-cap.

Tommy Bass (406) 994-5733 or tmbass@montana.edu