America’s land-grant universities uniquely positioned to fight today’s biological threats

By Tom Daschle and Tony Frank

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the establishment of the first land-grant university by President Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln valued higher education and recognized the role that dedicated institutions could play in supporting food, animals, and plants, while also ensuring that citizens with modest means could obtain a university education.

Land-grant universities are specially charged to solve problems affecting agricultural and rural areas. This mission could not be more relevant today.

A new report by the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense contains 15 recommendations to leverage the capabilities of land-grant universities. “Boots on the Ground: Land-Grant Universities in the Fight Against Threats to Food and Agriculture” describes how to empower these institutions to help defend our country against current and future biological threats.

Despite national mobilization of scientific brilliance, which produced new vaccines and other medical interventions in record times, COVID-19 has killed 1 in 325 Americans and continues to sicken and take lives. Even as we continue to grapple with this pandemic, monkeypox cases are now spreading across the globe, including in the United States. It is only a question as to when — not if — the next biological threat emerges.

Importantly, biological threats can impact not only people, but also food and agriculture. Our nation is not ready for the diseases that threaten this $1 trillion industry.

Read more HERE.

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