National Guard agribusiness team comes to CALS for “Ag 101” training

CALS is welcoming 58 members of the Wisconsin National Guard Agribusiness Development Team to campus July 25–29 for a 40-hour “Ag 101” training.  The course, organized by the Babcock Institute for International Dairy Research and Development and the Arlington Agricultural Research Station, is tailored to focus on farming techniques in Kunar province to help prepare the team for their spring of 2012 deployment. The training will take place at the Arlington station and on campus, with tours at area farms and the West Madison Ag Research Station.

The Agribusiness Development Team is a self-contained volunteer unit composed of Army National Guard Soldiers and Air National Guard Airmen with backgrounds and expertise in various sectors of the agribusiness field that work directly with Afghanistan farmers. During their deployment, members of the 82nd ADT will use their military occupational specialties and their civilian skills to teach Afghan farmers in Kunar province how to effectively farm and herd to expand agribusiness, create jobs and reduce poverty. The team is comprised of Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard members. Thirty-one of them, mainly infantry soldiers, will serve as security for the team. The other members consist of various administrative and technical staff, including forestry specialists, agronomist, agricultural marketing specialist, a hydrologist, a pest control specialist, engineers, a veterinary technician and multiple mechanics, medics and communications specialists.

A lot of people are pitching in to make this project a success. Key organizers from CALS include Jeff Breuer of the Arlington Station and Karen Nielsen, Dave Kantor and Alexandra Allweiss from the Babcock Institute. Here’s a list of the topics being covered and the people from CALS and other agencies who are doing the teaching:

  • Introduction to Afghan agriculture/culture – George Roemer (USAID)
  • Soils and fertilizers – Matt Ruark (CALS soils)
  • Seeds and planting – Janet Hedtcke (CALS horticulture)
  • Plant identification; What are feed crops and forages? – Josh Posner (CALS agronomy)
  • Pest management – Dan Heider (CALS Horticulture)
  • Harvest time, feed preservation – Randy Shaver (CALS dairy science)
  • Food safety: Afghan foods – Beth Button, Edie Felts Podoll, Monica Theis (CALS food science)
  • Meats – Jeff Sindelar (CALS animal sciences)
  • Veterinary care – Chuck Czuprynski, Keith Poulsen (UW Veterinary Medicine)
  • Fish hatchery tour – Terry Barry (CALS animal sciences)
  • Goats and Sheep – Claire Mikolayunas (DATCP)
  • Dairy and beef cattle – Bob Kaiser (UW-Extension)
  • Rangeland and pasture improvement and intensive rotational grazing – Rhonda Gildersleeve (UW-Extension)
  • Key Leader Engagement – JoAnn Stormer (Leadership Wisconsin)
  • Working with women and handicraft production – Liba Brent (ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas)/IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development))
  • Pomegranates, nuts – Brent McCown (CALS Horticulture)
  • Poultry – Ron Kean (CALS animal sciences)
  • Forest management, reforestation, honey bees – Isaac Kabera (CALS agriculture research stations), Jesse Rupert, Bill Brogan, Jeff Breuer (CALS Arlington research station)
  • Alternative and rural power – Vance Haugen (UW-Extension)
  • Water management and irrigation – Bill Bland (CALS soils)
  • Grapes and fruit trees – Judy Reith-Rozelle (CALS West Madison research station)


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