Assemblymember Marie Waldron–California agriculture produces one-third of the country’s vegetables, two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, and generates around $50 billion in annual revenue. We are the nation’s breadbasket, and we help feed much of the world by exporting over $20 billion in agricultural commodities every year. According to the San Diego County Farm Bureau, the County’s agricultural production ranks 19 th out of over 3,000 counties nationwide. Much of that agriculture is centered right here, in the 75 th Assembly District.
But agriculture is vulnerable, dependent on weather, unstable markets, fertilizer costs/availability, and many other factors. We’re in a drought, something that’s not uncommon, but for decades the state has taken no action to increase water storage. If that isn’t enough, now there’s another problem – cyber and ransomware attacks on agricultural companies. Throughout the U.S., Federal data shows that cyberattacks are increasing, with an estimated 47,000 nationwide, resulting in payouts totaling $1.2 billion across all sectors of the economy.
With more growers and livestock companies using precision farming and tech in their operations, this could become a common issue. In April, the FBI put the AG industry on alert after a series of cyberattacks targeting grain cooperatives. Criminals may consider agriculture an easy target, one that reaps immediate rewards. For example, disrupting seed supplies during planting season, or shutting down a dairy’s operations creating spoilage problems, can generate quick payouts from victims to criminals.
The FBI is recommending increased AG Cyber-Security. The measures include:
Backup data regularly and keep password-protected copies offline
Identify critical functions and devise plans for operating manually
Install operating system updates and patches as they become available
Use anti-virus and anti-malware software
Use multifactor authentication when possible
Use complex passwords and change them regularly
The FBI’s notification is available at: https://www.ic3.gov/Media/News/2022/220420-2.pdf
Agriculture is vital to our state and local economies. As an Assemblymember representing one of California’s leading agricultural regions, I will continue to do all I can to support this irreplaceable industry.
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Valley Center, represents the 75 th Assembly District in the California
Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.