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Ambassador praises National Guard

  • Published
  • By Capt Perter Shinn
  • 734th ADT
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, praised the accomplishments of National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams during a visit here Wednesday.

"In Afghanistan in general, and in Asadabad right here in particular, they're transforming Afghanistan's agriculture," Eikenberry said.

"They're adding value to this economy, and they're giving the citizens of this country - 80 percent of who make their livelihoods from agriculture - they're giving them great hope."

Air Force Lt. Col. Neil Stockfleth, officer-in-charge of the agriculture section for the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team, briefed Eikenberry on the ADTs.

Stockfleth said he was impressed with Eikenberry's willingness to travel to this remote province in Afghanistan for a first-hand look at development efforts here.

"I was glad to see him out here showing support for some of our efforts in what we might call a less-developed province like Kunar," Stockfleth said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's advisor to the ADT, Willard "Bud" Garrett of Florence, Miss., works closely with Stockfleth. According to Garrett, the ADT's work compliments USDA's efforts in Afghanistan.

"The way I view USDA is that we're a partner with anyone that's connected with agriculture," Garrett said. "The ADT has done some remarkable things, and what I try to do is provide some cohesiveness to some of the programs and some continuity."

Stockfleth emphasized the importance of Garrett's role, and noted the Iowa ADT is being replaced by the Illinois National Guard's 1-14th ADT in just a few days.

Both teams are confident the good work Eikenberry witnessed will continue seamlessly during the transfer or authority, ensuring Kunar will continue to receive and build upon the great agricultural work and guidance they have received over the last year.