Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center
To facilitate agriculture, consumer, and environmental collaboration, engagement and awareness by providing education programs, planning, training, and exercising to ensure the wellness of the whole community in the southwest borderland and beyond.
Increasing industry and consumer protection.
The Southwest Border Food Protection and Emergency Preparedness Center (SWBFPEPC) was formed in 2005 as the Southwest Border Food Safety and Defense Center. In 2014, we changed our name to reflect the many programs we are involved in. The project is a collaborative effort of New Mexico State University (NMSU) College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES); Cooperative Extension Service (CES), and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). The project helps protect the nation's food supply against threats ranging from foodborne illnesses, supply chain disruptions to agroterrorism.
We honor a three prong approach to Food Protection: Food Safety, Food Defense and Food Security.
The SWBFPEPC assesses the security of agriculture operations through our AGROGUARD program and provides training for farmers, dairy and livestock producers, public health officials, law enforcement and the public. We maintain first-response trailers across the state stocked with equipment to help officials respond to an agriculture emergency.
National and International Impact
The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management DHSEM) has designated the SWPFPEPC as the training point of contact for all approved training opportunities dealing with agriculture. We host exercises with partners from across New Mexico in addition to the 10 states along the United States/Mexico border. Some staff, with our partnering universities, have helped develop Department of Homeland Security-certified training courses that are taught nationwide and internationally.
The model for NMSU ACES and CES helps counties develop agriculture preparedness plans. Our S-CAP Project trains county personnel 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 New Mexico, this is called the ALIRT Program (Agriculture Livestock Incident Response Team).
In the majority of New Mexico's 33 counties, agriculture is the #1 economic engine and the SWBFPEPC works diligently to protect this critical infrastructure. We train emergency responders, law enforcement, extension personnel (including agriculture agents, home economists and nutrition educators) and NMDA personnel in agriculture security, food protection and family, business and community preparedness.