New partnership at Nebraska will help secure the world’s food systems


New partnership at Nebraska will help secure the world’s food systems

A new partnership at the University of Nebraska will help safeguard the world’s food supply by securing American agriculture from new and emerging threats.

Mike Boehm, NU vice president and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, says researchers will develop security and countermeasures to defend against, “somebody using a plant pathogen or an animal pathogen to cause harm, instill fear and attacking agriculture.”

IANR is partnering with the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) for five years to focus on biological defense and develop and deploy bio surveillance and biodetection.  The partnership also focuses on pandemic preparedness related to human, livestock and crop plant diseases that could result in disruptions to the U.S. and global food systems.

Boehm tells Brownfield while the NSRI is focused on defending against weapons of mass destruction, their partnership can help ag producers build on existing biosecurity efforts. “As we think of animal biosecurity, every feed yard out there, every cow/calf operation is thinking about biosecurity keeping their animal safe.  Every person who’s raising poultry is thinking flock security.  Swine, the same thing.” he says.

In an interview with Brownfield, Chancellor Ronnie Green said the U.S. has a vulnerable and complex food system. “Biodetection and bio surveillance and an ability to protect that food supply is radically – I shouldn’t use radically – but it’s very important,” he says.

The lab will be in the Morrison Life Sciences Research Center on East Campus, adjacent to other molecular life scientists, biomedical engineers and the Nebraska Center for Virology. This location will create opportunities for NSRI researchers, staff and program leaders to engage with faculty, students and staff throughout IANR and the university.

Listen to Boehm’s full interview: