Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Agriculture is argued to be one of our most critical infrastructures and is vital to human health and survivability. Agriculture is economically important in Virginia as it provides over 350,000 jobs and generates $55 billion annually (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services). This high criticality lends to significant areas of vulnerability in each sector of agriculture. Rockingham County is of particular importance as the top agriculturally producing county in the state and is ranked 5th in the nation for poultry sales (2007 Census of Agriculture). The desire to uphold this high production calls for a need to better understand what vulnerabilities threaten productivity. An examination was conducted to assess the ability to respond to and recover from any threat on this industry. This research employs an all hazard approach which examines intentional attacks of both a criminal and terrorist nature. Three specific areas address these concerns. First, the Potential Threat Elements which may attack the poultry industry, and the industry vulnerabilities they may find most attractive, are examined. Second, vulnerabilities of the poultry farms where primary grow operations take place are analyzed. Third, the capability of Rockingham County Fire Rescue to respond to an agricultural incident is discussed. The Animal Liberation Front was identified as the greatest threat to the industry. Several areas of vulnerability were reported including industry representatives who tend to be resistant to help because they believe it will increase regulation and ultimately their cost of production. Finally, the personnel of Rockingham County Fire Rescue have acknowledged a need for more agricultural incident training including annual exercises to help the agency to prepare for incidents involving poultry as well as other aspects of agriculture.

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Agriculture Commons