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Posts tagged: Afghanistan

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 »

People’s Garden Provides a Piece of Home to U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan

USDA employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kaubl, Afghanistan Kathy Gunderman and Mike Ward tend to a lot in the People’s Garden, which was established on the embassy grounds earlier this year.

USDA employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan Kathy Gunderman and Mike Ward tend to a lot in the People’s Garden, which was established on the embassy grounds earlier this year.

After a long workday, there is nothing Kathy Gunderman enjoys more than relaxing and tending to her garden, where brightly colored flowers and green, leafy lettuce is thriving under the hot summer sun. Read more »

Protecting Wheat Crops, Helping Ensure Afghan Food Security

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry (front in white) and Afghan Agriculture Minister Asif Rahimi (on truck) load seed At Badam Bagh Farm in Kabul.

In Afghanistan, wheat is not only a diet staple but is also the country’s most widely grown crop.

When an invasive fungus known as Ug99 threatened to damage and destroy Afghan wheat, the USDA joined forces with U.S. Central Command and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan to help stop it. Together in late 2010, they delivered 150 tons of USDA-donated Ug99-resistant wheat seed to Afghanistan. The seed arrived in October 2010 and entered Afghanistan’s seed multiplication program. Read more »

USDA Iowa Rural Development Employee Serving a Second Assignment in Afghanistan

On January 25, 2011, I arrived in Afghanistan to begin a one-year assignment helping Afghans revitalize thier agricultural sector through a variety of activities aimed to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan government, rebuild agricultural markets, and improve management of natural resources. USDA employees like me have worked in Afghanistan since 2003, helping to stabilize the country as it makes strides to become democratic and economically viable nation.

I also served a six-month assignment in Afghanistan during 2004 – 2005, and was drawn back for a second tour for a variety of reasons: the unique nature of the work; complexity of the civilian, military and Afghan participants; intrigue of working in an ongoing conflict environment; and the overall fascination of working with so many interesting people and situations in an historic initiative. Read more »