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Pfluger Introduces Bipartisan Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act

Washington D.C., February 28, 2023 | Lyssa Bell (202-225-3605)
Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) introduced the Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act, which will create a one-stop shop for the cybersecurity needs of American farmers and ranchers. This bipartisan bill will strengthen industry cyber resilience in agriculture sector by streamlining federal operations and increasing coordination with the private sector.

Pfluger’s Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act was co-sponsored by Representatives Marc Veasey (D-TX), John Curtis (R-UT), and Doris Matsui (D-CA). The bill is supported by the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, Plains Cotton Growers, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, International Fresh Produce Association, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“We must protect our critical agriculture producers and food supply from bad actors and cyberattacks as the industry becomes increasingly digitalized,” said Representative Pfluger. “I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to assist farmers and ranchers in securing their technology, equipment, and hardware. This bill will also create a specialized helpline for producers seeking advice on preventative security measures or help responding to a ransomware attack. Let’s protect our producers.”

“Ensuring the stability of the country’s agriculture industry is crucial for Texans and all Americans, “ said Representative Veasey. “Unfortunately, increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks have eclipsed the security measures of smaller members of the industry. I am joining my colleagues in introducing the Food and Agriculture Industry Cybersecurity Support Act. This bipartisan legislation will provide small businesses the opportunity to access a one-stop-shop of federal resources to protect their businesses from malicious cyberattacks.”

"As the food and agriculture industry becomes more connected through technology, the threat of cyberattacks becomes increasingly real,” said Representative Curtis. “This bill recognizes the critical need to address this issue and creates a one-stop-shop for the cybersecurity needs of American farmers and ranchers. By coordinating efforts with key stakeholders and creating a clearinghouse for tailored advice, this bill will enhance industry cyber resilience and streamline federal operations. It's a crucial step to protect a critical sector of our economy, and I'm proud to support it."

“As precision agriculture continues to create new tools for farmers and help increase yields, we must remain vigilant in protecting this vital infrastructure,” said Representative Matsui. “Cyber criminals are growing more sophisticated and aggressive, causing disruptions to agricultural technology. This bill will take important steps to strengthen the cyber resilience of our food and agriculture industry and provide the resources and support to protect from these ongoing attacks.”

Full text of the bill available here.

Background on the bill:

  • Creates a clearinghouse (one-stop shop) for the food and agriculture industry within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that will offer cybersecurity advice tailored to agricultural producers and operate a ‘helpline’ for those needing additional resources— including instructions on how to respond to ransomware attacks.
  • Requires NTIA to coordinate efforts with key stakeholders both in the public and private sectors like CISA, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and industry trade groups.
  • Requires the Comptroller General to conduct and submit a report on the effectiveness of existing federal programs to improve the cybersecurity of the food and agriculture industry.
    • Requires a subsection of the report to be dedicated to an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of creating a food and agriculture industry-specific Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).
    • Requires a subsection examining the development of a database containing a software bill of materials for the most common internet-connected hardware and software applications used in the industry.