Missouri National Guard sends second agriculture team to Afghanistan

 Missouri National Guard sends second agriculture team to Afghanistan

The Missouri National Guard is sending its second Agri-Business Development Team (ADT) to support efforts in Afghanistan. This team is comprised of 64 Missouri Army and Air National Guardmembers, making it the first overseas joint deployment for the Missouri National Guard.

“We are so proud to be sending our Missouri National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to continue helping agriculture in Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. “Missouri was the leader for this concept and we are proud to continue and improve the programs and partnerships developed by our pilot team.”

The first team was a pilot program for the National Guard Bureau and was a concept of the Secretary of the Army, the director of the Army National Guard, Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, Missouri Farm Bureau President Charles Kruse and Maj. Gen. King Sidwell, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard. Since the start of the Missouri National Guard pilot program, several states have begun mobilizing agriculture teams to expand the effort across Afghanistan.

The agriculture team includes agricultural experts with years of military and civilian experience. Their specialties include agri-business and economics, crops, livestock, agriculture education, organic farming and soil. However, the team is simply the tip of the spear; it is establishing substantial networks of agricultural experts in education and government for reach back assistance and consultation. The mobilization also includes a large security contingent.

The new team will replace the existing team. It begins its mobilization training at Camp Clark, in Nevada, Mo., on Oct. 1. At the end of October, the team will travel to Camp Atterbury, Ind. for further training, before traveling overseas. The first team, located near Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province, in eastern Afghanistan, has laid the groundwork, establishing support infrastructure, developing a strategic model, and initiating multiple projects. The new team will assume current projects, develop new ones, and refine the strategic way ahead. It will continue to focus on several pillars of agricultural development in the province, including irrigation and water, energy, education, basic resource development and management, value-added enterprises and food safety and reliability.

“The ADT is a unique complement to direct action combat operations in the Global War on Terrorism. Long term, through our combined efforts, we hope to unshackle the Afghan farmers and deny terrorists the fertile ground they’ve come to enjoy for recruiting, training, and support,” said Lt. Col. David Boyle, commander of the new ADT.

For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please call 1-800-GoGuard or visit www.moguard.com.