July 15, 2005 | By: Aimee Nielson
LEXINGTON, Ky.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture is joining forces with the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, UK College of Public Health and Kentucky Department of Agriculture to offer free, computer-based courses on agro-terrorism awareness.

The courses are scheduled to be available in August and include information about the potential for terrorist attacks on crops, livestock and the U.S. food supply.

According to Mark Schneider, KIPRC director of technology and program manager for Terrorism Response and Preparedness (TRAP), “Agro-terrorism has already occurred in the U.S. and, since 9/11, seems more likely to occur again.”

The new courses follow a series of online terrorism preparedness courses that Schneider developed for Kentucky first responders. When those initial courses became available on the Internet, users from across the United States and other countries began logging on. Schneider saw the opportunity to expand the offerings and said it was natural to collaborate with experts in the Cooperative Extension Service.

“The shared goals for the new program are increasing awareness, and thereby increasing the pool of ‘first detectors,’ in two demographics – young people in 4-H and FFA and county Extension personnel,” he said. “It became apparent that the courses could also serve other audiences.”

Students can learn from videos, animation and interactive exercises and then test their knowledge through quizzes and course exams. Successful completion results in certification, 
which will demonstrate their achievement to teachers and employers. Both courses are available on CD-ROM to provide extra bandwidth for interactive features.

“We hope these courses serve to educate the public about agro-terrorism,” Schneider said. “We all possess the power of observation. Spotting, recognizing and reporting suspicious events in agriculture or the food supply is something anyone can do.”

For more information about the free courses, or to order the CD-ROMs, visit the KIPRC Web site.

Contact: 

Writer: Aimee Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Ricky Yeargan 859-257-5839