62 honored for ag improvement efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently recognized the efforts of 62 USDA employees who have helped revitalize the agricultural sectors in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among those honored during a ceremony June 4 was Dr. Greg Brookhouser of Oxon Hill, MD, who served as an agricultural advisor in Maiwand, Zhari and Kapisa provinces, Afghanistan, from 2010 to 2011.
“I’m honored to recognize these brave and devoted men and women for their tremendous service to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Vilsack. “These USDA employees have played a vital role in furthering political and social stability throughout the world by building a foundation on which the economies of these countries will prosper.”
USDA agricultural advisors began serving in Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2006. Their goal has been to help Afghanistan and Iraq rebuild their agricultural sectors by planning and implementing reconstruction and agricultural development projects. Activities vary depending on the needs of the area, but can range from mentoring local agricultural officials, to improving food and animal production and marketing systems, to veterinary in frastructure, soil and water conservation, and reclamation programs.
Advisors working at the national government level help build the capacity of government ministries and collaborate with ministry staff to develop long-term strategies for agricultural development.
In Afghanistan, Brookhouser helped promote irrigation and intercropping at a demonstration farm plot, provided guidance on sanitary and phytosanitary issues, assisted a Panjshir company to certify its bottled water, and represented the U.S. Department of State on a Kapisa Department of Women’s Affairs radio program.
Brookhouser works as a veterinary medical officer in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington, D.C. He is a native of Plattsmouth, NE. He received a doctoral degree in Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, in 1985.
Since 2003, more than 250 USDA personnel have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 50 agricultural advisors are currently assigned there.
To learn more about USDA’s efforts in those countries, visit www.fas.usda.gov. — WLJ