HURON, SD (AP)--U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson said he supports the idea of appointing someone within the new Office of Homeland Security to help protect agriculture and the nation's food supply from terrorists.

"We have the safest food in the world, bar none, and that is all the more reason that we need to have expertise in place at a very early point so that our new Homeland Security Director, Gov. Tom Ridge, has the expertise available to him," said Johnson, a Democrat.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has asked President Bush to create a high-level staff position focusing on prevention of agroterrorism.

Johnson said fears earlier this year that foot-and-mouth disease would spread from Europe to the United States shows how vulnerable the country could be to an outbreak of a foreign disease.

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