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Developing Security of U.S. Commercial Grain Storage and Transportation Systems

Investigators
Adam, Brian; Rayas-Duarte , Patricia
Institutions
Oklahoma State University
Start date
2004
End date
2007
Objective
The long-term goal of this proposal is to provide sustainable, long-term security of the U.S. grain storage, milling/processing, and transportation infrastructure. The Specific Objective of Phase I of the Project is to test the level of bioterrorism readiness and identify weaknesses in security at major and secondary levels of the U.S. grain handling, storage, and processing industries.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The U.S. grain industry has an estimated 7,000 grain elevators, 400-450 food and feed grain mills, and over 250,000 commercial grain farm enterprises. This diverse storage/milling infrastructure, which produces and exports food/feed grain, is susceptible to terrorist's actions. Likely terrorist grain system targets are high profile, large volume grain product movements that can be easily contaminated, causing wide spread market disruptions, economic/social panic and illness in U.S. population centers. To our knowledge, no procedures or measures known to date have been implemented to test the level of preparedness of security of the U.S. grain industries, storage, milling and transportation sectors. We propose to test the level of biosecurity readiness and identify weaknesses in security at major and secondary levels of the U.S. grain industries. The long-term goal of this proposal is to provide sustainable, long-term security of the U.S. grain storage, milling/processing, and transportation infrastructure.

APPROACH: Biosecurity preparedness will be tested by surveying industry sites using a Biosecurity Plan Checklist (BSPC) and ranking Dummy Terrorist Attacks (DTA) of selected high profile and medium profile grain elevators, mills and transportation facilities or units, during pre-visit surveillance as well as after each site covert DTA or direct site visit. If the targeted site is very heavily secured, such as a high-profile facility with a high BSPC surveillance rating, a DTA may not be conducted. In those cases, the Dummy Terrorist Strike Team (DTST) will ask to meet the site manager and will review how the planned DTA could have been conducted and the security measures may have been bypassed or nullified. During direct visits, DTA plans would be discussed, demonstrated and documented with the manager observing. Where security is less stringent with lower BSPC ratings, a DTST would enter the physical premises of sites and post written documentation of the types of DTA activities that could have been delivered to their facility.

PROGRESS: 2004/05 TO 2007/04
OUTPUTS: Activities Conducted a survey of the level of preparedness and susceptibility for a bioterrorist attack of fifteen grain storage, processing and transportation industries. Events/Dissemination Presented the results from the survey as case studies in three different conferences and training events, including a) Elevator Managers Conferences, b) Wheat Quality Submits, and c) In-service trainings to Extension Educators.
1. Rayas Duarte, P. 2007. In-service training titled "Wheat Quality Summit", January 4, 2007. Audience: OSU extension educators. Oklahoma State University, Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, Stillwater, OK.
2. Rayas Duarte, P. 2006. In-service training titled "Wheat Quality Summit", December 7, 2006. Audience: OSU extension educators. Oklahoma State University, Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, Stillwater, OK.
3. Rayas Duarte, P. 2006. Workshop titled "2006 Wheat Quality Summit", August 2-3, 2006. Organized by Plains Grains, Inc. and supported by Oklahoma Wheat Commission and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Audience: 14 wheat industry personnel. Oklahoma State University, Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, Stillwater, OK.
4. Kenkel, P. and B. Adam. 2005. "An Estimate of the Degree of Commingling In the Hard Red Winter Wheat Marketing System," Western Coordinating Committee on Agribusiness, WCC-72 2005 Annual Meeting., Las Vegas, NV, June 20, 2005.
5. Rayas-Duarte, P. 2005. Workshop titled "Wheat Quality Summit Workshop," August 10 and 11, 2005. Organized by Plains Grains Inc. and supported by Oklahoma Wheat Commission and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Audience: wheat industry personnel. Oklahoma State University, Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, Stillwater, OK.
As a results of these activities, the industry personnel has received a training on how to increase their level of preparedness and security of their operations and facilities. Products The developed survey document can be used for a variety of food entities. The information learned was prepared as case studies which were presented in different forums to the grain industry. The case studies did not reveal the name of the site surveyed nor disclosed any critical information that would increase their risk to a terrorist attack.
PARTICIPANTS: Patricia Rayas Duarte, PI, Professor & Cereal Chemist, Dept of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Robert M. Kerr Food & Ag Products Center. Dr. Rayas is the project leader; she coordinated all the activities and delivered presentations in workshops and in-service trainings. Ronald Noyes, Co-PI, Professor emeritus, Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Noyes and Mr. David Edger were the team of surveyors that arranged and visited the surveyed facilities. David Edger, CEO of 3CI Consultants, Mr. Edger was a consultant to the project and along with Dr. Ron Noyes conducted the surveys for the case studies. Thomas Phillips, Co-PI, Department Head and Professor, Kansas State University, Department of Entomology. Dr. Phillips worked with the training team members in evaluating and training related areas in entomology issues. Dr. Brian D. Adam, Co-PI, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University. He and Dr. Phil Kenkel conducted the cost benefit analysis for the project. Dr. Phil Kenkel, Co-PI, Professor and Fitzwater Chair in Economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University. He and Dr. Brian Adam conducted the cost benefit analysis for the project. Partner organizations: The Stored Product Research and Education Center (SPREC) at OSU was used as the headquarters of the project. This $1.4 million facility has a 60x80 ft center building housing offices, training rooms, laboratories and a large work room for demonstrations and large meetings. The Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) at OSU was the headquarters for planning and training workshops. Plains Grains Inc. (PGI), Stillwater, OK, was a resource for organizing workshops and presentations to the grain industry. Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Oklahoma City, OK, was another resource for organizing workshops and presentations to the grain and transportation industry
TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences were all segments of the grain industry including storage, transportation and processing facilities as well as extension educators from the universities. Efforts of this project included: development of survey instrument, workshops and conference presentations of case studies summarizing the survey findings.

IMPACT: 2004/05 TO 2007/04
A Bioterrorist Evaluation Site Team (Team) was formed with two very qualified professionals in the fields of 1) grain storage & transportation, and 2) surveillance and counter-terrorism activities. The team drafted initial strategies for surveillance, evaluation, and testing of the security of commercial grain elevators and transportation facilities. A reconnaissance of representative commercial grain elevator, milling complexes, and transportation industries in the United States Plains was performed. This study has found that the grain industry overall is not a highly attractive target for a terrorist attack. The mixing and dilution that occurs normally in the grain business lessens the likelihood that an attack would accomplish the desired objectives. From an attacker's perspective, the ideal target would be a grain storage site that feeds directly into a major bakery, cereal company, etc. Hitting such a site would result in food going out with some level of contamination, although even that level would have to be studied depending on amount of processing involved. Some security evaluators take the approach of identifying any weak points and then suggesting fixes that will strengthen those weaknesses and thus raise the security posture of the site overall. While that approach has merit, many firms cannot afford it. All sites have weaknesses. Fortunately, the results of this study suggest that at most sites a few, limited security enhancements would markedly improve security at a minimal cost. These low-cost recommendations would cause an attacker to pause, realizing that the site managers had taken the effort to harden their site. In many cases, the objective is to identify probes of the site by would-be attackers. Such probes are standard in any attack and serve as an excellent warning. Cameras, seals, and night-time closing procedures are all (low-cost) efforts to spot the probe. High volume locations are more likely targets than small. Larger sites can add a bit more security because hopefully their profits are higher, but in every case we tried to only suggest those steps that would provide real return without putting them out of business.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
OKL02540
Accession number
199442
Categories
Food Defense and Integrity
Policy and Planning
Education and Training
Commodities
Seafood