February 18, 2010

When Kentucky Air National Guard Lt. Col. Carney Jackson deployed to Afghanistan last year, he knew he’d not only have a chance to put his guard skills to use, but also specific knowledge he used every day in his civilian career at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Jackson is a veterinarian for the college’s Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center. So for him, joining the Kentucky National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team in Afghanistan was a natural fit. Jackson and 64 other team members have been working toward their mission of promoting agribusiness in the war-torn country by providing resources and education in Afghan provinces Kapisa, Bamyan, Parwan and Panjshir.

“We have various projects in these provinces including grape trellising, pomegranate marketing, beekeeping, forage development, wheat production, potato storage and marketing,” Jackson said. “We’re also teaching better techniques for planting and harvesting, battling plant disease and improved irrigation techniques.”

Jackson is also developing training materials for pasture management, animal health, parasitology and necropsy (animal autopsy) techniques. The team will use the materials to train local Afghan veterinarians, paravets and animal veterinary care workers.

“Along with the Army Veterinary Corp officers and Army enlisted personnel, I am providing continuing education to veterinary faculty and students at Kabul University and Nangarhar University Veterinary School,” he said.

Jackson’s team is also coordinating training in veterinary medicine  with the director of the Charikar Veterinary Training Center of the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan. The committee has veterinary field units throughout the country which provide veterinary care.

The team’s goal is for the Afghan people to adopt the new or improved strategies and be able to sustain the projects themselves.

The current Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team will return to the United States sometime in June. A new Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team will arrive in mid-May, allowing for a smooth transition before the current team returns to the United States sometime in June.