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NDSU Working With Minnesota Guard Unit Headed to Afghanistan

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ADT members learning more about sheep from Reid Redden, assistant professor in the NDSU Animal Sciences Department and the Extension Service sheep specialist. ADT members learning more about sheep from Reid Redden, assistant professor in the NDSU Animal Sciences Department and the Extension Service sheep specialist.
Ken Grafton, NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources dean and director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station welcomes ADT members to the NDSU campus. Ken Grafton, NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources dean and director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station welcomes ADT members to the NDSU campus.
The 12-person group from the 135th Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) is on the NDSU campus to learn more about agriculture before being sent to the Zabul province of Afghanistan.

A Minnesota National Guard team on its way to Afghanistan is at North Dakota State University to learn more about agriculture.

The 12-person group from the 135th Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) is on the NDSU campus to learn more about agriculture before being sent to the Zabul province of Afghanistan. Once in Afghanistan, the team will work with the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock to teach various crops and livestock farming methods and help solve problems.

“Our goal in Afghanistan is to provide training and advice to help the people become more self-sufficient,” says Col. Eric Ahlness, commander of the team. “This means various aspects of agriculture, from crops and livestock to selling the commodities.”

While on the NDSU campus, team members are meeting with faculty and researchers to discuss various agricultural practices, such as beef, goat, sheep and poultry production; animal health; beekeeping; entomology; soils; water; vegetables; fruits and plant pathology, plus alfalfa and wheat production.

“While team members are in Afghanistan, they also will be able to contact NDSU faculty if there is an agricultural problem,” Ahlness says. “This will help our team solve problems as quickly as possible and gives us another tool to use. NDSU already has been involved. We used NDSU to help identify an insect-caused disease on a walnut tree branch brought in by a farmer during our time in Afghanistan in May of this year.”

Team members were chosen because of their backgrounds and expertise in various sectors of the agribusiness field.

For example, one of the team members is Capt. Cheryl Wachenheim, NDSU marketing specialist in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. She has been a faculty member at NDSU since 1998. As a member of the National Guard, Wachenheim previously was deployed to Iraq.

"Having the baseline education and ability to reach back to NDSU is vital to the success of our mission,” Wachenheim says. “This is a partnership that will enable us to advance agricultural capabilities in Afghanistan and bring the university's expertise and intellectual capability to bear halfway around the world."

The ADT “Growing Victory” unit will deploy to Afghanistan in October.


NDSU Agriculture Communication – June 29, 2011

Source:Cheryl Wachenheim, (701) 231-7452, cheryl.wachenheim@ndsu.edu
Source:Col. Eric Ahlness, (651) 268-8942, eric.ahlness@us.army.mil
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 2316136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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