Legislators recently introduced the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act, a bipartisan and bicameral initiative aimed at enhancing cybersecurity within the agriculture and food critical infrastructure sectors. The legislation mandates the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct biennial assessments of cyber threats and vulnerabilities in the sector, offering recommendations for improved security and resilience. The assessments cover the nature and impact of cyberattacks on agriculture and food, readiness of government and private sectors to prevent and respond to such incidents, policies to enhance defenses, and opportunities for improvement. Additionally, the bill requires annual cross-sector crisis simulation exercises over a five-year period to assess preparedness for food-related cyber emergencies, address vulnerabilities, and identify key entities for future exercises.
Introduced by representatives Brad Finstad and Elissa Slotkin in the House, and senators Tom Cotton and Kristen Gillibrand in the Senate, the legislation enjoys bipartisan support. Over a dozen lawmakers co-sponsor the bill, which has backing from various associations and federations within the agriculture and food sector. The initiative focuses on securing the nation’s agriculture sector and food supply chain amid growing threats domestically and abroad. Representative Finstad emphasizes the importance of understanding and preventing cyberattacks on the country’s food supply, highlighting the significance of the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act in bolstering defenses.