Purdue-trained Guard unit helps Afghan farmers
By The Associated Press
3:55 PM CDT, May 10, 2009
After decades of turmoil, some farmers in Afghanistan are getting a helping hand from an Indiana National Guard unit specially trained to help them boost their farms' productivity.
The 60-member unit trained at Purdue University arrived in March in Afghanistan's Khost province, along the border with Pakistan.
The unit's mission is to help farmers there regain the knowledge lost in the years since the former Soviet Union's 1979 invasion, the subsequent civil war and the 2001 U.S. invasion that ended years of harsh Taliban rule.
"A lot of generational knowledge that gets passed down from father to son on different ways and successful ways to do agriculture has really been severed," said Maj. Shawn Gardner, the 1-19th Agribusiness Development Team's operations officer. Read More
One of the first requirements for a peaceful society is to have a reliable food supply. We saw food riots last year when supplies tightened up. Not only do we have the best military in the world, but we also have the best farmers and ranchers. Using both of these resources, hopefully we can bring peace to this region.