Skelton commends Missouri Guard Agri-Business Development Teams
By: Press Office of U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton
Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 20, 2010) — Today, Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) commended the Agri-business Development Teams (ADTs) of the Missouri National Guard while managing H.Res. 1075, a resolution which recognizes the work of ADTs in Afghanistan.
“I commend our National Guard personnel who are working to improve the agricultural economy of Afghanistan. Economic improvements, including those in the agriculture sector, are critical to NATO’s success in that troubled land. Rehabilitating Afghan agriculture will increase the country’s gross domestic product and provide food security for its people. And, importantly, a revitalized agricultural sector will allow Afghan farmers to grow profitable crops other than poppies, which are used to make illicit drugs and breed a culture of corruption.
“A few years ago, I witnessed firsthand the work being done by Missouri’s National Guard personnel while spending Thanksgiving with them in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. I am impressed by their dedication and thank them for their service to our country,” said Skelton.
The first ADT to be deployed was from the Missouri National Guard, and over the history of the program four different Missouri ADTs have been deployed or are preparing for deployment. H.Res. 1075 was referred to the House Armed Services Committee, on which Congressman Skelton serves as Chairman.
Congressman Skelton’s full remarks are included below. _____
Rep. Ike Skelton Prepared Remarks in Support of H.Res.1075 20 March 2010
Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.Res. 1075, a resolution commending the Agri-business Development Teams of the National Guard, and I thank Mr. Luetkemeyer for introducing this resolution.
The Agri-business Development Teams, often called ADTs, are one of the unsung successes of the mission in Afghanistan. Agriculture makes up about 45 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product and employs over 70 percent of the population. Although Afghanistan once supplied food for the region, thirty years of war has degraded the agricultural economy of Afghanistan so much that substantial assistance is required to rebuild it and ensure that Afghanistan has food security.
The first of Agri-business Development Team was from the great state of Missouri, so I have a particular pride in the great work they do. These teams are made up of National Guard members who have expertise in agriculture from their civilian lives. These volunteers spend one month training for deployment in Indiana and are then sent to Afghanistan for 11 months. Each team has about 58 personnel, with twelve agriculture experts, although all members of the team have some level of agriculture expertise. Right now, there are teams from nine states deployed, including one from Missouri.
From the start, the Missouri National Guard has been a leader in this program. The fourth Missouri team is now preparing to go. I have a list of the Missouri Guard members who have gone to Afghanistan and returned, and I would ask that their names be included in the record.
The ADTs have undertaken a wide variety of projects to help develop and improve the agricultural sector in Afghanistan. They have improved irrigation systems, modernized slaughter facilities, set up markets to trade products, taught sustainable method of fertilizing crops, developed juicing and canning facilities, and worked to improve livestock health through mobile veterinary clinics. All of these projects are identified and agreed to by American and local Afghan leaders.
One of the most unique aspects of this program is the partnership between the ADTs and the Land Grant Universities and State Farm Bureaus. The Land Grant Universities help provide pre-deployment training for the ADT personnel and also serve as technical support for the teams. Eleven universities provide support for this effort.
Madam Speaker, we will not win in Afghanistan if the Afghan people cannot govern themselves and provide for themselves. Rehabilitating the agricultural sector of the Afghan economy will not only put thousands of people back to work, it greatly increase the gross domestic product of Afghanistan, provide food security for the people, and substantially enhance our chances of success. For their contribution to that goal, I thank the brave soldiers and airmen who make up the National Guard Agri-business Development Teams. It is not the first thing we think about when we talk about winning in Afghanistan, but the work they do may be some of the most important.
Missouri Agri-Business Team One Allen, Jon Matthew (E3) Allen, William Noel Jr (E4) Allison, James Gregory (O5) Brandt, Curtis Herbert (E6) Briscoe, Aaron David (E4) Bruce, William Eugene (E5) Bunch, Billy Wayne (E4) Choate, Richard Austin (E4) Dignan, Kyle Patrick (E5) Douglass, Earl Brian (E4) Dunlap, Douglas Kevin (O3) Elkin, William Anthony (O2) Garner, Nathan Lee (E4) Gideon, Chad Ryan (E4) Godsey, Larry David (E8) Gustin, Brian Eugene (E7) Hall, Shannon Dewayne (E5) Harper, Stephen Timothy (O1) Hoaglin, Robert Lee Jr (E5) Holderieath, Jason Jacob (E4) Huitt, Mark Douglas (E6) Kellison, Aaron Curtis (E3) Kidd, Jimmy Wade (E4) Lyons, Jeffry Joseph (E7) Murray, Rickie Dean (E5) Neher, Jeremy Lee (E4) Norman, Michael Timothy (E4) Oyer, Chad Edward (E4) Pennington, Nicholas Ryan (E3) Peterson, Erik Sven (E4) Pettibon, Matthew Travis (E4) Pierce, Russell Wayne (E7) Richards, Clayton Shawn (E6) Roth, Robert Edward (O3) Rufener, Damon Carl (E6) Salmon, Joshua Nathan (E6) Saunders, Berry James Allen (E5) Seek, Michael Lee (O3) Simmons, Randall Scott (E8) Stegmann, Matthew Herman (E7) Sutton, Darrell Craig (E4) Thornborrow, William Jose II (E5) Vesco, David James (E4) Vogel, William Joseph Jr (E9) Wagner, Ted Curtis (E4) Williams, David Roy (E6) Winston, Bryan Joseph (E4) Wymore, John Darren (E6)
Missouri Agri-Business Team Two Ashton, Daniel James (O2) Banuelos, Scott Alexander (E5) Bennett, Alan Lee (O3) Boyle, David Lee (O5) Brainard, Jonathan Gregory (E5) Branson, Timothy (E3) Brody, John Anthony (E4) Brown, James Edward (E4) Coplin, Richard Keith (W1) Cunningham, Heather May (E4) Dam, Russell Jens (E6) Davenport, Zachary Dale (E4) Davidson, Sean Michael (E4) Dipley, Jennifer Lindsay (E5) Flaxbeard, Zachary Thomas (E3) Frink, Richard Allen (E8) Funken, Jennifer Ann (E6) Green, John Allen (E5) Green, Ronald (E7) Hafner, Gerald Wesley (E5) Hartman, Timothy Ray (O5) Hill, Scott Douglas (E6) Hill, Timothy Michael (E4) Jones, Anton Claxton (E6) Keilholz, Nicholas Allen (E1) Lane, Andrew Christian (E4) Larsen, John Kenneth (E4) Latour, Andrew Dennis (E4) Ledbetter, Jason Robert (E5) Lee, Daniel (E1) Litherland, Sean Nicholas (W2) Love, Richard Anthony (E4) Matlock, Kyle (E4) Mullins, Matthew Dean (E9) Olson, Julie Ann (E4) Patty, Ryan Heith (E4) Percy, Jacob (E4) Powell, Nathaniel Elliot (E3) Reppert, Michael Leslie (E3) Sears, James Grant III (E1) Smith, Stephen Ryan (E4) Steinbrook, Michael Lee (E6) Stewart, David Liekweg (O2) Thomas, Michael (E3) Trigg, Timothy William (E6) Udovich, Anthony Steven (E5) Walters, James Wilson Jr (E9) Wilkinson, Denise (O4) Wilmoth, Scott Allen (E4) Wilson, Tony Lynn Jr (E4) Withrich, Jason Allen (E7) Wunderlich, Janet (O3) Beaver, Jonathan A (SSG) Brandau, Scott W (SrA) Herring, Adam S (SrA) Jacobs, Matthew E (SrA) Mackey, Seth E (SSG) Moe, Eric J (SrA) Pearce, Douglas D (SrA) Polley, Terry P (TSG) Robison, Richard C (SSG) Salcedo, Daniel A (SSG)
For security reasons, the names of those currently serving overseas (Team 3) or preparing to deploy (Team 4) have been withheld.
Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.