The Missouri National Guard Agribusiness Development Team V had taped greetings shown during the Sept. 2 Fox Sports Midwest "This One's For You" annual Cardinals telecast recognizing the Armed Forces. (Photo submitted by the Missouri National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team V).
By Rachel Knight
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - After a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, the Agribusiness Development Team V is back on U.S. soil and closer to seeing their loved ones.
On May 3, 2011, 56 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen were sent off to Operation Enduring Freedom by a drill floor full of friends, Family and coworkers. The agribusiness team spent the last year stationed at Forward Operating Base Finley-Shields facilitating agricultural reconstruction and development in the Nangarhar Province.
Agriculture accounts for a large portion of Afghanistan's gross domestic product and most of the Afghanistan population is involved in farming, herding, or both.
The mission of ADT V was to partner with the Afghanistan counterparts involved in agriculture; foster an atmosphere of education and learning; coach, teach and mentor the Afghan officials to regain knowledge and confidence in their own process; assist in empowering the Afghan counterparts to do what is right for the province and the people; and to allow for advancement and improvement in the quality of life for the Afghan farming community.
Some of the team's projects included the rehabilitation of village irrigation canal systems; quality control for larger area watershed restoration; regeneration and/or promotion of micro-level agribusiness like cotton production, fish production, sugar cane processing, poultry production, veterinary services, seed oil processing and peanut processing; establishment of saffron research test plots at area agriculture high schools; project management for construction of an Agriculture High School, irrigation canal retaining wall/intake, construction (work in progress) of an Agriculture Information Center to house the Agriculture Extension Agent's (AEA) office, rehabilitation of an agriculture department learning center for the Nangarhar University Ag Department. The team is also designing projects for a protection wall for an AEA office, construction of an Agriculture Information Center, and irrigation rehabilitation for 12 tertiary canal systems.
"Projects are also not just the physical act of building something," said Lt. Col. Brent Beckley, ADT V commander. "We have been involved with providing a monthly educational seminar series to the Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock staff addressing best practices in agronomy, horticulture, food preservation, animal health/nutrition, and food safety."
Training support packages and tools or other teaching aids were provided with the expectation of the AEA using these same resources to conduct the educational training to the farmers of their districts. A series of books also were provided as useful textbooks to aid in small group instruction by the extension agents.
As a means to improve agriculture education and linkage between the Directorate of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock's office and supporting higher education, the continued development and instruction of the seminar series of training was turned over to the Nangarhar University Agriculture Department.
The team has accomplished a lot, but it would be hard to find a Soldier or Airman that isn't ready to get back to their Families, friend and, even, a little quiet time.
1st Lt. Cody Waters, member of the 1138th Sapper Company, said upon his return, he looks forward to finishing the garage and front porch on his home as well as spending a week traveling through the mountains of Colorado.
Master Sgt. James Bradley, of the 131st Bomb Wing, says he looks forward to "the slower moments like enjoying a quiet dinner on the deck with his wife."
Sgt. 1st Class Keith Mays, member of the 1140th Engineer Battalion, said upon his return home, he looks forward to spending time with his friends and Family, and teaching his son how to swim and throw a baseball.
Spc. Jesse Allen, member of the 294th Engineer Company, says he looks forward to spending time with his son, Kaleb.
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