Kentucky ADT Soldiers “ADAPT” agriculture training for Afghanistan mission

Story by Maj. James Hatfield, Agribusiness Development Team 5

Solar Dryer 2

Sgt. Maj. David Munden, Capt. Chase Kohne, and Maj. Bill Hatfield inspect a “solar dryer” during Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training (ADAPT) training in Fresno, Calif. Solar dryers are used to dry fruits and vegetables for use and storage and is similar to the kind used in Afghanistan by ADT 4. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Capt. Joseph Fontanez)

FRESNO, Calif. — Members of Kentucky’s Fifth Agribusiness Development Team (ADT 5) participated in Agricultural Development for Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training (ADAPT) in Fresno, Calif.  ADAPT training is a program to design and deliver standardized agriculture training to United States government personnel (both civilian and military) in preparation for their role to provide effective outreach services to Afghan farmers.

ADAPT training is organized by the US Department of Agriculture and California State University – Fresno, and is a week-long training focusing on agricultural issues the core group of trainees will encounter in Afghanistan. ADAPT’s instructors come from a broad group of experts from partner universities California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Colorado State University and Southern Illinois University.  ADAPT also draws upon civilian and military personnel who have agricultural program experience in location specific environments.

“ADAPT training was customized to address agricultural issues and challenges for this specific region and we had the opportunity to explore a number of Afghan case studies as well as hands-on field exercises,” said Col. Bob Hayter, ADT 5 commander.  “These classes provided our team with an extensive overview of the fundamental agriculture issues and challenges facing the average Afghan farmer.”

Hayter explained how Fresno has a similar climate and geography as Afghanistan, including very similar weather to the Kandahar region, where the team will be doing some of its work.

“California has been the number one food and agricultural producer in the United States for over 50 years,” said Hayter.  “Area specific techniques have been used to make California one of the most productive regions in the world and can be used as fundamental foundations to improve the overall productivity in the Districts along the Helmand River in Afghanistan.”

Pomegranate

Col. Bob Hayter, ADT 5 commander shows off some of the pomegranates from the Fresno State Demonstration Farm in Fresno, Calif. Pomegranates are a high-value crop in Afghanistan, so the team greatly benefited from the training. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Dallas Kratzer)

ADT 5 is tasked with mentoring and developing Afghan farmers and government officials in the sustainable, economically viable farming techniques to counter the insurgency and help stabilize the Government of Afghanistan.

“Grapes are California’s second leading commodity and their leading nut export is the almond, both of which are grown extensively in the Kandahar region,” said Hayter.  “A major goal for our team is agriculture sustainability and successful practices developed here in the U.S. could transfer easily into the region.”

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