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Uncertainty of agroterrorism: A study of Oklahoma beef producers' risk perceptions, information sources and source trust in the pre-crisis stage

Ashlock, Marcus Anthony
Scope and Method of Study: The purpose of this statewide study was to determine Oklahoma beef producers' perceptions of the susceptibility of the Oklahoma beef industry to a terrorist attack, and the sources of information Oklahoma beef producers use and trust when they seek information about agriculture during a crisis. Participants in this study were randomly selected from a population of 48,000 beef producers in Oklahoma. All 470 respondents completed a telephone survey conducted by the Oklahoma Agricultural Statistics Service. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and cross tabulations were used to analyze the data.
Findings and Conclusions: Oklahoma beef producers perceived the beef industry was susceptible to an agroterrorism event; believed the feedlots to be at an elevated level of threat; were confident in their own operation's bio-security measures; believed their own operation was not susceptible to an agroterrorism event; and did not believe they had enough information about protection from terrorism to the beef industry. Producers looked to their veterinarians when seeking information about animal health issues and any agriculturally related crisis; and preferred to receive information through county extension publications. They also perceived the local veterinarian as the most trusted and reliable source of information available. The OSU Cooperative Extension Service, through the county extension agents and the local area livestock specialists, and the USDA were also trustworthy and reliable sources.