Nunn, Davis Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Protecting Food Supply From Cyberattacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03) and Don Davis (NC-01) today introduced bipartisan legislation to protect our nation’s food supply against cyberattacks. The Cybersecurity in Agriculture Act creates a national cybersecurity network to identify and mitigate cyber vulnerabilities within the food and agriculture industry.

“Just one cyberattack could cripple our food supply. Recent cyberattacks have shut down food processing plants, targeted grain cooperatives during harvest, and put our food supply at risk. Our farmers and producers are vulnerable,” Rep. Nunn said. “The Cybersecurity in Agriculture Act will utilize resources at our nation’s leading agriculture educational institutions, like Iowa State University, to help better protect Iowa’s agricultural industry against nefarious actors.” 

Agriculture is one of the top ten industries targeted by cybercriminals. In recent years, the Iowa agriculture industry has been a target of cyberattacks. In 2021, a meat packer was forced to shut down production at 13 facilities, including one in Ottumwa, due to a cybersecurity attack. The company was forced to pay an $11 million ransom to Russian hackers to resume operations. In that same year, a second ransomware attack targeted an Iowa grain cooperative in Fort Dodge. 

“The bipartisan Cybersecurity in Agriculture Act is critical to protecting our food supply from cyberattacks. With agriculture being a top target, we must act to safeguard our farmers and the stability of our food system,” said Rep. Davis. “I’m proud to partner with Congressman Nunn to protect our agriculture ecosystems by establishing regional cybersecurity centers to enhance readiness, response, and recovery capabilities. Food security is national security. By researching, setting up a special center to handle security, and making special cybersecurity tools, we’ll strengthen our defenses across eastern North Carolina and the country.” 

The Cybersecurity in Agriculture Act will enhance cyberattack readiness, response, and recovery by establishing five Regional Agriculture Cybersecurity Centers across the country and a national network for these regional centers to communicate with each other. One college or university would be designated to coordinate activities of the national network. 

Specifically, the Regional Agriculture Cybersecurity Centers will conduct research on cybersecurity systems, develop a security operations center for the agriculture sector to analyze cybersecurity threats, and develop cybersecurity tools for the agricultural sector. 

Rep. Nunn announced the introduction of this legislation with Iowa State University at the Iowa State University Polk County Extension Office in Altoona, Iowa earlier today. Text of the legislation can be found here.