MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Many West Virginia University students and alumni are working in the United States Armed Forces to build security and prosperity in Afghanistan. One of them is doing so from the ground up.
Lt. Col. Carney Jackson, DVM and ‘73 graduate of the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, is focusing his efforts on Afghanistan’s agricultural sector. Jackson is an Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel with the Army National Guard’s Kentucky Agriculture Development Team (ADT).
“The ADT is tasked to implement an agricultural strategy for provinces [including] Bamyan, Kapisa, Panjshir and Parwan,” Dr. Jackson said. “We are to provide direction and focus of agricultural resources. Our effort is to increase agricultural sector jobs and productivity.”
The team is working on various projects from grape trellising, pomegranate marketing, bee keeping, forage development, wheat production, potato storage and marketing, better crop planting and harvesting techniques, battling plant disease and improved irrigation techniques.
“I am developing training materials on pasture management, animal health, parasitology and necropsy techniques for training local Afghan veterinarians, paravets and animal veterinary care workers,” Jackson said. “Army Veterinary Corps officers, Army enlisted personnel and I are providing continuing education to veterinary students at Kabul University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science and Nangarhar University veterinary school.
“We are also coordinating veterinary medicine training with the director of training for the Charikar veterinary training center of the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan (DCA),” Jackson said. “The DCA has veterinary field units throughout Afghanistan which provide veterinary care via veterinarians, paravets and veterinary care workers. We have provided teaching on sanitary slaughter and food safety for local Afghan butchers.”
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, has praised the performance of the National Guard’s ADTs.
“It was remarkable to me how every candidate we called on, every Afghan in the provinces, everyone had heard about it already,” Holbrooke told the National Guard’s news bureau in July.
“Eighty percent of Afghanistan depends on agriculture for its livelihood,” said Army Col. Marty Leppert, who oversees the effort. “So it’s incredibly important that if we’re going to attack all the challenges and ills that involve Afghanistan it’s important that we attack agriculture as a need.”
In his civilian life, Jackson is an associate professor and veterinary pathologist with the University of Kentucky’s Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center.
CONTACT: David Welsh