Impacts from Partnering with Military Serving in Afghanistan

In time for Christmas of 2013, members of the Nebraska National Guard Agribusiness Development Team 4 (NE ADT4) returned home to their families from Afghanistan.  While the NE ADT missions were concluded, lasting impacts in the lives of the Afghan people will hopefully remain for years to come.

Members of NE ADT2, UNL Extension Educator Vaughn Hammond, and Afghan Extension agents after a train the trainer program.

Members of NE ADT2, UNL Extension Educator Vaughn Hammond, and Afghan Extension agents after a train the trainer program.

Our military worked to “win the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people by helping them learn how to grow their own food and provide for their families.  You can read more in this post about their missions and ultimately the efforts to train the extension faculty to take the research they were conducting to the people of Afghanistan so their lives could be improved.  This is what Cooperative Extension in the United States does every day for our citizens!

It has been an honor to work beside the men and women defending our Country and our freedom!  It was also a blessing to have a unique insight to the missions and accomplishments of these teams as a military wife serving at home while my husband served with NE ADT2.

Beginning with three UNL Extension faculty providing reach-back to NE ADT1 in 2008, an ADT Training Team grew to over 60 individuals from UNL Extension and Research, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA National Agroforestry Service, UNO’s Center for Afghanistan Studies, and the Nebraska Corp of Army Engineers providing pre-deployment agricultural training followed by reach-back during deployment for NE ADT2-4.

Partnership Impacts:

Since this was the conclusion of this effort, I wished to share a few of the impacts our military shared with me via a survey sent to 27 military members from NE ADT1-4 (n=13 respondents).

  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed that the training received from the ADT training team prior to deployment helped prepare them with information needed during deployment.
  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed that the reach-back they received from the ADT Training Team was timely and helpful.
  • “The help that I received from the UNL extension was priceless. I am very thankful for their support and guidance.”
  •  “…All supporting staff instantly responded to our questions which enabled us to provide feedback to the local Afghan Extension Agents, political reps and the general population.”
  • “During my time in Afghanistan…we had a built in reach-back with Mr. Vaughn Hammond being with us…”

In their own words….

We often don’t hear about the great impacts our military members have on the Afghan people while they are deployed.  Here are just a few of the many stories in their own words as they share the importance of partnerships during deployment.

I was in constant contact it seemed with a couple members of the UNL extension. Their support guidance and assistance was immeasurable. I received training material from the Beef Basics course for classes I taught to Afghan college students and constantly received ideas and assistance from the extension members.

Drawing on some of the education provided on water resource management, I identified a dam that was in danger of failing..threatening the village below. Emergency efforts were then made to shore up the dam. The livestock and poultry education gave us the base from which to provide training, in turn, to the Afghan people using, in my case, the Center for Educational Excellence (CEE) in Sharana, Paktika. A highlight for me was a series of training on livestock vaccination (FAMACHA) conducted in remote sites – even on a mountain side – in eastern Paktika.

ADT 1 received direction, websites, hard copy fliers, books, and additional training information through mail, email and correspondence. The farm and machinery safety information was vital to the development of an “Operator’s Maintenance / Safety” video and handbook that we developed for the Afghan farmers. But just simply bouncing ideas back and forth was much more beneficial than anything else for me. I’m just so glad that future ADT’s saw the need and developed a plan to initiate Extension and the ADT Training team into their in-state training!

The initial training, relationships created and reach back capability had a direct effect on the success of our mission. I am proud to have had such an excellent working relationship with UNL and the ADT training team during our deployment.

During our time in Afghanistan we made a train the trainer program for the Ag Extension Agents and DAIL staff to utilize. A lot of the material that was given to us and from our training were put into the training program.

The NRCS training we received in Texas pre-deployment gave us a good idea of the terrain, crops and irrigation practices. Agroforestry helped in identifying tree species. The Nemaha NRD assisted by providing a template of their Tree Program which we started in the Paktya Province with their MAIL & Extension Agents. UNL Extension was vital to our success in many ways by providing an Extension Educator (Vaughn Hammond) as well as advice on many relevant topics. Our mission success would not been as great without the support of UNL Extension and the ADT training team.

Tree Care Workshop

TreeCareWorkshop

The Memorial Day and August 1st storms of 2013 did significant damage to our trees in Clay County. This workshop is designed to provide demonstrations on pruning techniques, what to look for, and learning how care for your storm damaged trees in future years. There is no charge and all are invited to attend. Please spread the word as many trees were damaged last year!

On-Farm Research Update

Hope to see you next week at our Nebraska On-Farm Research Updates to be held March 10 at ARDC near Mead and March 11 in York!!!

On-Farm Research Update

Center Pivot Irrigation Short-Course

Hope to see you in Clay Center on February 11 for this upcoming meeting!
(Please click on the picture to enlarge the text.)

Center Pivot Management Short Course

Natural Resource District Updates

Rod DeBuhr with the Upper Big Blue NRD spoke at a few meetings recently.  He shared there’s a lot of rumors floating around, but if you have questions, please just ask the NRD.  There will be no well drilling moratorium and no restriction on adding new acres in the District.  The only exception to this is if the allocation trigger is reached, there will be no new transfers.  The UBBNRD encompasses 1.2 million irrigated acres and 57% of the water is used on only 29% of the acres; thus there’s still some inefficiencies within some producers’ operations.  These are producers using, on average, more than 8” since 2007.  The average water use since 2007 is just under 8” for the District.

Rod DeBuhr from Upper Big Blue NRD speaks at the Hamilton Co. Ag Day in Aurora.

Rod DeBuhr from Upper Big Blue NRD speaks at the Hamilton Co. Ag Day in Aurora.

Flow meters are required on all wells by January 1, 2016 or by when an allocation is triggered-whichever comes first.  The first allocation period is 30” of water for 3 years.  They will then evaluate where the water levels are.  If recovery doesn’t happen after the three years, then there will be a second allocation of 45” for 5 years.

For flow meter specifications:  all new meters must record in acre-inches.  They must also have an anti-reverse feature on them.  They must be installed based on the manufacturer recommendations-no exceptions.  Existing meters are grandfathered if they are determined to be accurate.  There is no cost share on new meters, but there is some cost share for repairing old meters.  Please contact the UBBNRD at (402) 362-6601 for questions or more information.

Little Blue NRD updates during the Soil and Water Conference in Clay Center.

Little Blue NRD updates during the Soil and Water Conference in Clay Center.

Daryl Andersen with the Little Blue NRD also shared some information with me.  These rules are effective as of January 17, 2014, which were put in place in 2006 or sooner.  For well constructions and flow meter requirements as of Mar. 2006, new or replacement water wells to be used for domestic, stock, or other such purposes shall be constructed to such a depth that they are less likely to be affected by seasonal water level declines caused by other water wells in the same area.

Any new irrigation well or water wells for all other uses except municipal, domestic, public water supply, or livestock are required to have a minimum of 10 times the pipe diameter of clear space in the discharge pipe to allow for potential installation of a flow meter at a future date.  There are some exceptions if a new meter is installed during the time of well completion; please contact the LBNRD at (402) 364-2145 for further info.  Spacing between all new irrigation wells should be set at 1000 feet.

Nitrogen fertilizer restrictions include:  Pre-plant anhydrous ammonia may not be applied prior to November 1.  Pre-plant nitrogen fertilizers in liquid or dry forms may not be applied prior to March 1 except under the following conditions: a “Fertilizer Permit” will be required by the LBNRD prior to fertilizer applications, a nitrogen inhibitor will be required if applying over 20 lbs of active nitrogen/acre and an annual report will be required by March 15 of each year if receiving the “Fertilizer Permit.”

For the Clay/Nuckolls Water Quality Sub-Area:  Two new rules were enacted March 1st, 2013 along with all of the prior rules.  First, water samples need to be collected from all high capacity wells by the producer, delivered to LBNRD and NRD will analyze it for nitrates for 2013 and 2014 growing season.  Second, water pumpage report is required from all wells for all producers in 2013 and 2014.  Report can be hour meters, flow meters or other devices.  Please contact the LBNRD for additional questions.

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