They are soldiers, and they are prepared to defend themselves. But a special team of the Georgia National Guard’s 265th Unit out of Metter, Ga., will soon deploy to Afghanistan to help the war-torn country’s farmers. The team recently got the training it will need to complete that mission from University of Georgia agriculture experts in Tifton, Ga.
“Their primary mission is help stabilize that country, and they want to do that by helping the Afghan government be better prepared to help farmers,” said Steve Brown, UGA Cooperative Extension assistant dean who helped organize the guard team’s agriculture training.
Eighty percent of Afghans work in agriculture, the primary economic driver in the country. But farming practices there are a century behind farming practices in developed countries.
Georgia National Guard has sent soldiers to Afghanistan for a decade. Georgia is one of several states now preparing Agribusiness Development Teams to deploy to the country. The first ADT from Georgia deployed earlier this year. Augusta’s 201st Regional Support Group received agricultural training from UGA this past spring.
Brad Haire, news director with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, speaks with Brown about these special agriculture teams and the training they received in Tifton.
(Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)