The Important Role ICS Plays in Agricultural Emergencies

In the article, “Agriculture Incidents and Effective Multi-Agency Coordination” by Frank Castro-Wehr and Mark Ghilarducci,  the authors discuss the uniqueness of agricultural emergencies versus other disasters and the importance that Incident Command System (ICS) plays in managing and coordinating the short and long-term response.   ICS can be considered the glue holding multi-agency response groups together, especially since agricultural emergencies span years and vast jurisdictions.  

Reflecting on the 2007 melamine-contaminated pet food products imported from China, the authors saidProbably the greatest strength of this multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional response was its adherence to the multi-agency coordination principles of ICS as outlined by the NIMS guidelines.”

Key take-aways from the article were the best-practice suggestions for agriculture responses are to:

  • Establish and train an effective multi-agency coordination capability as a primary response organization – taking special care to include the tools, procedures, communications links, and strategies needed;
  • Develop operational positions that are focused on the work of agriculture and human health staff, so they can work comfortably in a traditional ICS structure; and
  • Use ICS tools and terms as part of the common lexicon among staff that often work in both response and program cultures.

Agricultural related industries contributed $1.109 trillion of the 2019 U.S. GPD.   The USDA plays an important role providing funding through the Farm Bill’s National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP).  The NADPRP awarded $5.2 million in 2019, and $9.3 million in 2020 projects that advance the capabilities, capacity, and readiness of the nation’s animal agriculture sector responders through training and exercises. The Blue Cell is playing a key role with Agriculture Departments seeking ICS300 and ICS400 training for staff preparedness for whatever comes their way.  

Additional resources:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Blue Cell, LLC online store

Jim Erickson USDA Department of Agriculture ICS300 ICS400

Jim Erickson has been working with the Public Safety and Emergency Management industries for 13 years providing hi-speed mass communication services, content and training management solutions, and disaster planning and damage assessment systems.Prior to entering the Public Safety and Emergency Management markets, Jim spent 20 years selling enterprise and government products and services with Moore North America, Rosetta Technologies, and Xerox Corporation.

Jim was born and raised in Southern California and relocated to Colorado with his wife, Ann, in 2000.  They have four sons, whom Jim has helped mentor through The Boy Scouts of America program, as well as many other young men, having served as Scoutmaster, Committee Chairman, and Outdoor Program Advisor.  In addition to enjoying all the outdoor activities the Scouts has to offer, Jim enjoys off-roading in his Jeep and home-brewing.BCRIMT01, BCRIMT02, BCRIMT05, Emergency Managers, FEMA, G-FEMA, GFEMA, L Courses, FEMA Training, Firefighters, Firefighter Training, G191 Courses, G2300 Courses, ICS300, ICS400, Online ICS400, Online ICS300, Virtual ICS300, Virtual ICS400, Online G2300, Online G191, Self Paced LMS, Virtual G191, Virtual G2300

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