Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have drawn up legislation with the goal of creating a national strategy to prepare for, detect, respond to and recover from an agro-terror attack or catastrophic food emergency. The bill was introduced today.

Called the National Agriculture and Food Defense Act, it would require federal departments to develop a coordinated strategy for agriculture and food emergency preparedness, as well as response and recovery plans. The bill outlines $2 million in funding to train and educate state personnel on food defense tactics, as well as help states develop food emergency response plans, reports

It also outlines ways to improve communication and coordination between state and federal authorities by authorizing states to hire agriculture and food defense liaison officers. There's a provision to expedite animal disease detection and food-related emergencies. The bill integrates nationwide diagnostic laboratory networks and develops on-site rapid diagnostic tools.

A copy of the bill is available on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture's Web site.,