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Posts tagged: Iraq

NRCS District Conservationist Does Double Duty as Major General in Iraq

Major General Eddy Spurgin conducts key leader engagements with Iraqi military senior leaders in southern Iraq.

Major General Eddy Spurgin conducts key leader engagements with Iraqi military senior leaders in southern Iraq.

When on duty, Major General Eddy M. Spurgin is the commanding general for the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard, but when stateside, he serves as the district conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Big Spring, Texas. 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 »

USDA Employee Lends his Agricultural Knowhow Toward the Betterment of Iraq

A group of Iraqi women work with vegetables during a Food Preservation Project course offered in Baghdad. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) agricultural advisor Thaddeus White and the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) he was assigned to worked with local non-governmental organizations to offer the course to widows and women in need. Photo credit: Thad White.

A group of Iraqi women work with vegetables during a Food Preservation Project course offered in Baghdad. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) agricultural advisor Thaddeus White and the Baghdad Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) he was assigned to worked with local non-governmental organizations to offer the course to widows and women in need. Photo credit: Thad White.

For the past year, Thaddeus White provided education and training to the Iraqi people as an advisor for the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)  Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Baghdad. Read more »

USDA Employee Founds 4-H in Iraq, Brings Hope to Iraqi Youth

Since the early twentieth century, 4-H (head-heart-hands-health) has been an avenue for American boys and girls to develop leadership skills, receive vocational training, participate in community service and much more.

Today, 4-H, which is USDA’s premier youth development program, has clubs in 81 different countries including Iraq, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of one USDA employee—Mary Kerstetter. Read more »

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Employees Overcome Risks to Contribute to Stability and Development in Iraq and Afghanistan

When you hear about two employees dedicating their time to an important issue such as this one, the least one can do is acknowledge the level of commitment and importance of the roles they play for the agency and USDA.

Dr. Jaroslaw Fabis, a Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer in Raleigh, North Carolina, volunteered in Maysan, a town near the Iranian border, from February to October 2009. Dr. Fabis joined the American Embassy in Iraq as an agriculture advisor for the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) to contribute to the goal of stability and development of the Iraqi agricultural community. Part of the U.S. mission in Iraq is to strengthen this particular sector of the community to facilitate their economic autonomy and Dr. Fabis took time out of his regular duties to accomplish just that. As the first veterinarian to visit Maysan, Dr. Fabis worked closely with the Maysan Veterinary Hospital to improve livestock health and productivity.  He also trained 125 veterinarians and veterinary technicians and renovated the Amara City slaughterhouse. For his efforts, Dr. Fabis received letters of appreciation from the U.S. Embassy Agriculture Counselor, the Provincial Directory of Veterinary Hospital and Congressman Joseph Courtney of the Armed Services Committee. FSIS is extremely proud of his dedication, commitment and sacrifice in support of our country, the military and civilian operations in Iraq. Read more »

An Ag Expert Looks Back at Iraq and Afghanistan

Ryan Brewster served as an agricultural expert in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ryan Brewster served as an agricultural expert in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

This morning at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recognized the efforts of more than 20 USDA employees who served as civilian agricultural experts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The agricultural experts were part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to provide civilian assistance abroad to help promote long-term economic development. 

One of those agricultural experts, Ryan Brewster, served for nearly three years in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are his recollections: Read more »