November 1, 2019

Special Meeting at Colorado State University to Focus on Biological Threats to U.S. Agriculture


Contact:  Steve Aaron, SRA Communications, (717) 554-8614,



Nov. 5 Meeting to Feature U.S. Representative Joe Neguse

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov 1, 2019) – The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will hold a special focus meeting at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on November 5. This meeting will inform the Commission’s continuing assessment of the biological threat, specific vulnerabilities, and overwhelming consequences to agriculture producers. Entitled Too Great a Thing to Leave Undone: Defense of Agriculture, the meeting will feature an expert panel of speakers who will share their perspectives, experiences, challenges, and recommended solutions with regard to agrodefense, and discuss public and private sector responsibilities to protect U.S. agriculture. Among the featured speakers will be U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO).

“With each passing year, new threats are discovered that could have severe, long-lasting impacts on agriculture,” said former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Commission Member Tom Daschle. “Biological threats do not respect borders, necessitating a concerted effort both domestically and internationally. Moreover, addressing this enormous challenge will require a common sense of ownership from governmental and non-governmental stakeholders alike, including academia. It is essential that our agriculture, our lives, and our economy are not left vulnerable.”

Sen. Daschle noted that Colorado is a significant contributor to America’s food and agriculture critical infrastructure sector, which produces, processes and delivers the systems and commodities that feed billions of people and animals throughout the United States and overseas. Nearly half of Colorado’s 66 million acres are dedicated just to farms and ranches, and the agricultural sector contributes more than $40 billion to the state’s economy each year and provides more than 173,300 jobs. Nationwide, agriculture, food, and related industries contribute nearly a trillion dollars to the U.S. gross domestic product. As one of the largest contributors to the U.S. economy, protecting this sector is a matter of national security.

“Representatives from federal agencies, state government, private industry and land grand universities will join us for this important discussion,” said Commission Member and former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, who will join Sen. Daschle in Colorado along with Commission Executive Director Dr. Asha M. George. “The safety, security and sustainability of food systems that contribute to the well-being of humans, plants and animals demands action from those stakeholders that stand to be impacted.”

Topics to be discussed at the meeting include:

  • The catastrophic risks to all components of agriculture;
  • Land grant university contributions to national security;
  • Public-private partnerships for agrodefense; and
  • Challenges to agricultural surveillance, detection, response, and recovery across all levels of government and throughout the private sector.

Meeting details, including a complete agenda, can be found here.

Editor’s Note: Media should RSVP to either attend the event or watch a live stream by contacting The event will be held on Tuesday, November 5, from 9:30am to 3:15pm (local time) at Colorado State University C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute, Fort Collins, CO.

About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps, and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial support. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.