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Posts tagged: Afghanistan

After September 11th, A U.S. Forester in Afghanistan

Alberto Moreno, a U.S. Forest Service supervisory forester, stands in the Spin Ghar Mountain range at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan by the Khyber Pass. (Photo courtesy Alberto Moreno)

Alberto Moreno, a U.S. Forest Service supervisory forester, stands in the Spin Ghar Mountain range at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan by the Khyber Pass. (Photo courtesy Alberto Moreno)

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, sitting in a small Cessna about to go airborne, the pilot suddenly slowed the plane and aborted the takeoff. He said he had received orders that all flights had been grounded and that any airplanes that did not comply would be shot down by the Air Force.

The United States was under attack.

At the time, my job had been with the Arkansas Forest Inventory and Analysis survey program monitoring plots on the Mississippi Delta. I spent the rest of that day tracking my crews working in the field, and like the rest of the world, tried to comprehend the events as they unfolded. Read more »

USDA Serving Military Aviation in Afghanistan

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Research Scientist and Manger in the Feather Identification Lab Dr. Carla Dove, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Biologists Keel Price and George Graves look over a sample of the birds in the Smithsonian collection on Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. USDA photo by Anson Eaglin.

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Research Scientist and Manger in the Feather Identification Lab Dr. Carla Dove, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Biologists Keel Price and George Graves look over a sample of the birds in the Smithsonian collection on Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013. USDA photo by Anson Eaglin.

In March, I enjoyed welcoming home two USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service employees from 18-week tours of duty in Afghanistan. There they devoted long days using their wildlife expertise to reduce aircraft hazards to American and coalition aircraft at Bagram Airbase and Kandahar Airfield.  It was my honor to help recognize them for their service from November 2012 to March 2013. Read more »

U.S. Soybeans Support Sustainability in Afghanistan

Minnesota soybean farmers and representatives from the Albert Lea Seed House, the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and Minnesota-based Shelter for Life International gather in Minnesota before the soybean seeds depart for Afghanistan. The shipment is part of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress Program and will provide Afghan farmers with 68.5 metric tons of early maturing soybean seeds to plant. (Photo by Dan Lemke, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council)

Minnesota soybean farmers and representatives from the Albert Lea Seed House, the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and Minnesota-based Shelter for Life International gather in Minnesota before the soybean seeds depart for Afghanistan. The shipment is part of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress Program and will provide Afghan farmers with 68.5 metric tons of early maturing soybean seeds to plant. (Photo by Dan Lemke, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council)

Minnesota soybean farmers recently gathered at a local seed house to witness final preparations for a shipment of U.S. soybean seeds about to make a 7,000-mile journey to Afghanistan. The shipment is part of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress Program and will provide subsistence farmers in Afghanistan with 68.5 metric tons of early maturing soybean seeds to plant. Read more »

Afghan Borlaug Fellows Receive Executive Training

A USDA People’s Garden outreach coordinator gives a tour of the garden to visiting Afghan Borlaug Fellows during their visit to USDA for the Borlaug program’s executive management training. The fellows spent a few days in the Washington D.C. area before visiting Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., where they learned how the U.S. land grant university system conducts research and brings new technologies to agricultural producers and agribusinesses. (Photo by Erin Tindell, Foreign Agricultural Service)

A USDA People’s Garden outreach coordinator gives a tour of the garden to visiting Afghan Borlaug Fellows during their visit to USDA for the Borlaug program’s executive management training. The fellows spent a few days in the Washington D.C. area before visiting Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., where they learned how the U.S. land grant university system conducts research and brings new technologies to agricultural producers and agribusinesses. (Photo by Erin Tindell, Foreign Agricultural Service)

With 80 percent of Afghanistan’s population involved in farming, herding or both, agriculture is the main driver of the Afghan economy. However, only 12 percent of the country’s total land is arable and less than six percent is currently cultivated. Since 2003, the U.S. government has been working alongside Afghans to help restore the country’s once vibrant agricultural sector. Read more »

USDA Course Improves Training for Agricultural Development in Afghanistan

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16.  The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

USDA agricultural advisors, members of the Wisconsin National Guard and members of the 401st Civil Affairs Battalion learn about irrigation techniques used in Afghanistan while participating in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training (ADAPT) in San Luis Obispo, Calif. from Dec. 12-16. The week-long course taught the students about farming practices currently used in Afghanistan and ways to help improve efficiency and increase production. Photo by Ryan Brewster, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

This year, USDA helped create and is funding a standardized training course for individuals going to Afghanistan to support agricultural revitalization efforts. Read more »

Secretary Vilsack Honors USDA Employees for Service in Iraq and Afghanistan

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Patrick Broyles, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee, cleans a locally grown potato Dec. 18, 2008, during a visit to a new irrigation project in Muehlah, Iraq. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Wendy Wyman/Released)

Since 2003, more than 200 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees have sacrificed months – sometimes years – away from loved ones to live and work in war zones, voluntarily lending their skills and knowledge toward the betterment of people halfway around the world.

On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack honored nearly 70 of these men and women, all of whom have returned from serving as agricultural experts in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past year. These employees hail from across the United States and represent several different USDA offices and agencies. In their roles as agricultural advisors, they have worked side-by-side with everyone from top officials with Iraq and Afghanistan’s ministries of agriculture to the U.S. military, from farmers, ranchers and students to widows and children. Read more »