For farmers and ranchers, upholding one’s duty to defend and protect the liberties and ideals for which our nation stands is not a choice, but rather a debt owed by all Americans.

This patriotic spirit has been engrained in rural agricultural communities since the birth of our nation. Even today, more than 44 percent of all U.S. military troops boast rural roots.

America’s farmers and ranchers have always demonstrated unwavering commitment to protecting our nation from threats both foreign and domestic.

And, as the U.S. faces the growing threat of individual acts of terrorism, farmers are honoring their national duty by supporting Department of Homeland Security regulations on ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used to provide essential nutrients to crops.

While many farmers and ranchers have transitioned away from ammonium nitrate, the compound is still used as a nitrogen source for many crops, particularly in warmer climates.

However, in the right concentrations ammonium nitrate can be added to explosive devices to increase the magnitude of explosions.

Ammonium nitrate was used in several terrorist attacks including the 2005 London underground bombings, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 innocent U.S. citizens and cost the U.S. $1.35 billion.

In 2007, new legislation instructed DHS to step up existing efforts to protect the nation from the potential misuse of ammonium nitrate.

Earlier this summer DHS announced initial steps creating the Ammonium Nitrate Security Program. Unlike previous DHS programs focused primarily on security at high-risk chemical facilities, ANSP is designed to increase controls and monitoring of sales, purchases and transfers of the product.