Monday, February 12, 2024

Review - S 3661 Introduced – Food & Ag Cybersecurity

Last month, Sen Cotton (R,AR) introduced S 3661, the Farm and Food Cybersecurity Act of 2024. The bill would require USDA to periodically assess cybersecurity threats to, and vulnerabilities in, the agriculture and food critical infrastructure sector. Additionally, it would be required to conduct an annual cross-sector simulation exercise relating to a food-related emergency or disruption, and for other purposes. The bill would authorize $1 million per year through 2028 to fund such activities.

This bill is very similar to HR 7062, which was introduced shortly before this legislation. These are not technically companion measures as there are three significant differences between the two bills. First, the study to be conducted by USDA in both bills would be required to be conducted “in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency” in this version. The other two changes apply to the cross-sector exercise outline in §4. Both would add requirements to include “including sector-relevant information sharing and analysis centers” in the development and execution of those exercises. There was no mention of ISACS in the House bill.

Moving Forward

Cotton is not a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration, but one of his seven cosponsors {Sen Gillibrand (D,NY)} is a member. This means that there may be sufficient influence to see the bill considered in Committee. Beyond, the spending issue, I see nothing in the bill that would engender any organized opposition to the bill. I suspect that there would be bipartisan support in the Committee for the bill, but I am not sure that it would be enough to overcome the opposition to the additional spending.


As with HR 7062, I find it odd that this bill fails to mention the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council (FASCC). This group is a well-established public-private partnership designed to assist the USDA in their oversight of the Food and Agriculture Sector. They would be an invaluable asset to the USDA in developing and executing the requirements of this legislation. I would like to see language inserted in §3(a) and §4(a) requiring coordination with the FASCC for execution of both the study and the exercises.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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