Foresters from the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Nebraska Forest Service helped prepare the Nebraska Air and Army Guard’s Agriculture Development Team (ADT) for an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.
The ADT will deploy to Afghanistan from July 2011 to May 2012 and work with local government, university and non-governmental organization personnel to improve agriculture and forestry in the war-torn country.
Trainers discussed tree care, planting and agroforestry design guidelines and will provide additional educational resources and assistance once the ADT is in Afghanistan. Also, a “reach-back” list of agriculture and forestry specialists will provide situational support to the ADT as needed.
“It’s really a special opportunity to be able to support the efforts of our troops in Afghanistan,” said Richard Straight, USDA Forest Service. “The work of the ADT highlights the importance of forestry and agroforestry around the world, particularly in places where conditions aren’t ideal for growing a wide variety of food. We’ll continue to support the team throughout their deployment, any way we can.”
While in country, the ADT, which includes ranchers, communicators, engineers, irrigation specialists, etc., will share information, techniques and technology specific to growing healthy plants in Afghanistan’s environment.
The use of trees and shrubs as windbreaks is a promising technique for protecting crops in the country from heavy winds. Alley cropping – planting crops between rows of trees— will also be used to create micro climates in areas to support local food production.