Training for farm mission in Afghanistan sensitive - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Training for farm mission in Afghanistan sensitive

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Experts with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture have trained three groups of National Guard soldiers from Arkansas and Oklahoma on missions to help Afghan farmers increase yields and better provide for themselves. Their hope is that the farmers will be less inclined to grow opium poppies for the Taliban.

Karl VanDevender, an agricultural engineer who helped train the soldiers, said farmers in Afghanistan are using methods like what was being used in Egypt at the time of Moses.

The troops are picked because of their civilian skills - from farming to plumbing to soils to marketing. The first team trained in Arkansas was from Oklahoma and went through the program about three years ago. The next two teams were composed of Arkansas soldiers.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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