The Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center (SWBFSDC) was formed in 2005 by NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. The Center helps protect the nation's food supply against security threats ranging from foodborne illnesses to supply disruptions to agroterrorism.
The SWBFSDC assesses the security of agriculture operations and provides training for farmers, dairy and livestock producers, public health officials, law enforcement and the public. The Center maintains first-response trailers in Albuquerque, Clovis and Las Cruces stocked with equipment to help officials respond to an agriculture emergency, and distributes emergency preparedness kits at various events across New Mexico.
The NM Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has designated the Center as the training point of contact for all approved training opportunities that are certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. We host exercises with partners from across New Mexico in addition to the 10 states along the U.S./Mexico border. SWBFSDC staff, with our partnering universities, developed five Department of Homeland Security-certified training courses that are taught nationwide.
SWBFSDC's model for CES helps counties develop agriculture preparedness plans. Our S-CAP Project trains county personnel across the country to write an agriculture emergency operations plan annex to their all hazards emergency plan. Another program, the Syndromic Surveillance Project, is quickly becoming the model for animal disease surveillance across the United States.
In the majority of New Mexico's 33 counties, agriculture is the #1 economic engine and the Center works diligently to protect this important sector. We train CES agents and specialists (including agriculture agents, home economists and nutrition educators) and NMDA personnel in agriculture security, food safety, and family, business and community preparedness. In 2009 alone, our training reached just over 61,000 New Mexicans.
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