Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently recognized the efforts of 62 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees who have helped revitalize the agricultural sectors in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among those honored during a ceremony June 4 was WKU biology graduate student Robert Moore of Lavinia, Tenn., who served as an agricultural advisor in Balkh, Samangan, Sar-e-Pol and Jowsjan 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 infrastructure, 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, Moore worked closely with agriculture faculty and students at Balkh University and the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock. Moore works as a crop adjustor with Rural Community Insurance Services and is an adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. He received a Master of Science degree in agronomy from Murray State University, a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Austin Peay State University and an Associate of Science in agriculture from Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tenn. Moore is completing a Master of Science in biology at WKU.
Since 2003, more than 250 USDA personnel have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 50 agricultural advisors are assigned there. To learn more about USDA’s efforts in those countries, visit www.fas.usda.gov.
Contact: Linda Habenstreit, (202) 720-9442.