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Surveying and Evaluating Biosecurity of U.S. Grain Storage, Processing and Transportation Facilities. Phase II

Investigators
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: 2004/06 TO 2007/05
OUTPUTS: A survey was conducted to evaluate the level of preparedness and susceptibility to a bioterrorist attack of fifteen grain processing and transportation facilities of the grain industry. Events/Dissemination The results from the survey were prepared as case studies and presented to different audiences of the grain industry including extension educators at the university level. The presentations covered different segments of the grain industry and educational activities among them were conferences and workshops such as a) Elevator Managers Conferences, b) Wheat Quality Submits, and c) In-service trainings to Extension Educators. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. The case studies were used as examples to illustrate areas that need improvement and their related cost for implementation. The audiences learned from the case studies real and present danger with their challenges of making our grain supply safer at a reasonable and competitive cost. The lessons learned were useful to convey the messages that in all levels of the gain industry are specific areas that need to be continuously improved and not necessarily expensive. Products Other food industries can apply the survey developed in this project. Therefore, the application will be extended to other areas extending the knowledge from this study. Throughout the presentations, the case studies did not reveal strategic information of the industries that cooperated in this study. Such collaborating industries received the benefit of obtaining a very comprehensive review of their present level of preparedness to a terrorist attack. In addition a report of a cost-benefit analysis specifically prepared for them was prepared. The cost-benefit analysis was also included in the presentations to the grain industry and extension education personnel.
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: 2004/06 TO 2007/05
A multidisciplinary team at Oklahoma State University recently completed on-site studies of the security of 15 food grain handlers throughout the U.S. The Bioterrorist Evaluation Site Team (Team), which included a former counter terrorism expert from the Central Intelligence Agency, toured the facilities and made detailed recommendations for security improvements. The results from the facilities visited were prepared in case-study recommendations and used to estimate the costs of improved security at various levels of the wheat marketing system. The costs for improving their level of security were combined with previous estimates of commingling wheat at different points of delivery to provide insights into the justification of security measures at various levels of the system. In contrast to the conclusions of Nganje, Wilson and Nolan (2004), the results of this study suggested that security improvements at inland terminal elevators, river elevators and unit train facilities are cost effective. This conclusion reflects the improved (case-study based) cost estimate of security improvements and the potential impact of further commingling of contaminated wheat. Public policy to support improved security may be justified.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
OKL02548
Accession number
199889
Categories
Food Defense and Integrity
Education and Training