Brigadier General Brian Copes of the Indiana National Guard spoke to the Greensburg Rotary Club at its Monday meeting.
General Copes was commander of the Indiana Agribusiness Development Team sent to Khowst Province, Afghanistan in Feb. 2009. His group of 64 soldiers spent a year teaching Afghan farmers about erosion control and how to improve their crop yields.
They also provided vocational training for agricultural extension agents. The team included 15 experts in agronomy, horticulture and irrigation.
Khowst Province is located near the Pakistan border and surrounded by mountains. General Copes described the war zone as being a very difficult environment in which to work. His team was the first of seven teams sent to the area with the fifth team there now.
Coopes described the Afghan farmers as undereducated but eager to learn. With 70 to 80 percent of the Afghan people employed in farming, it is essential for them to learn the skills needed to revitalize their economy.
General Copes was accompanied by Greensburg native Sgt. Melissa McCoy who was part of the ADT’s support staff.
— Daily News