Press Release

Gillibrand, Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Legislation To Address Cybersecurity Threats To American Agriculture

Jan 29, 2024

Today, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act, legislation that would strengthen cybersecurity protecting the agriculture and food critical infrastructure sectors. The bill will identify vulnerabilities and improve protective measures of both the government and private groups against cyber threats.

Cosponsoring the legislation are Senators Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Katie Britt (R-AL), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Mike Rounds (R-SD). Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01) and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-07) are introducing companion legislation in the House.

Bill text may be found here.

“Protecting our nation’s farms and food security against cyberattacks is a vital component of our national security,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act is a crucial step toward preparing our nation’s agriculture sector to respond to potential cyberattacks. I am committed to ensuring our American agriculture sector is ready to defend against these cyber threats and look forward to working with my colleagues to get this important bill passed.”

“America’s adversaries are seeking to gain any advantage they can against us—including targeting critical industries like agriculture. Congress must work with the Department of Agriculture to identify and defeat these cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This legislation will ensure we are prepared to protect the supply chains our farmers and all Americans rely on,” said Senator Cotton.

“Food and farm security is national security,” said Congressman Finstad. “With growing threats at home and abroad, it is increasingly important that we ensure our nation’s agriculture sector and food supply chain remain secure. I am proud to join Rep. Slotkin and Senator Cotton in introducing the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act, which will provide us with a greater understanding of the susceptibility of our country’s food supply to cyber-attacks, and more importantly, help us prevent these attacks from occurring in the future.”

Food security is national security, so it’s critical that American agriculture is protected from cyber threats,” said Congresswoman Slotkin. “No longer just some tech issue, cyber attacks have the potential to upend folks’ daily lives and threaten our food supply – like we saw a couple years ago when the meat-packing company JBS was taken offline by a ransomware attack. This legislation will require the Department of Agriculture to work closely with our national security agencies to ensure that adversaries like China can’t threaten our ability to feed ourselves by ourselves.”

The Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act would:

  1. Direct the Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, to conduct a study every two years of the cybersecurity threat to, and vulnerabilities in, the agriculture and food sectors and submit a report to Congress.
  2. Direct the Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, as well as the Director of National Intelligence, to conduct an annual cross-sector crisis simulation exercise for food-related cyber emergencies or disruptions.

Supporting the legislation are the American Farm Bureau Federation, North American Millers Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, USA Rice, Agricultural Retailers Association, American Sugar Alliance, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.