A U.S. Army colonel who grew up on a soybean farm in southeast Missouri has been honored for the role he played in helping Afghan farmers plant their first soybean crop in 2011.
The American Soybean Association recognized Army Colonel Doug Rose for his contributions to the success of ASA's World Initiative for Soy in Human Health's (WISHH) U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) project in Afghanistan.
In 2011 and 2012, Rose helped coordinate military transport of U.S. soybean seeds to reach WISHH's work with subsistence Afghan farmers.
"Having grown up in a soybean farming family in southeast Missouri, Doug Rose understood the importance of timely delivery of the seeds to Afghan farmers and their families," said ASA president Steve Wellman. "Doug's 24 months of military duty in Afghanistan gave him unique insight into WISHH project's value to America as well."
Last year from Afghanistan, Rose conducted an interview with WISHH, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_IDbw-UVyw. His message provides insight into the lives of subsistence farmers in Afghanistan and why soybeans are significant.
Colonel Rose's many military awards and decorations include two awards of the Bronze Star Medal and six awards of the Meritorious Service Medal. His Army service has brought him back to Washington, D.C., where the ASA board gathered this week. ASA thanked him for helping get a total of 50 metric tons (MT) of Stine seeds on military air transport from Illinois to Pakistan and then trucked into Afghanistan.
As a result, WISHH's USDA Food for Progress project succeeded in aiding 1,000 Afghanistan farmers, including 91 women, produce the country's first commercial crop of soybeans on a total of 500 acres in 2011. This year, 3,325 Afghan farmers, including 300 women, are planting soybeans as part of the multi-faceted Soybeans in Agricultural Renewal of Afghanistan (SARAI) project.
The soybeans present an exciting new economic opportunity for these subsistence farmers to support their families. They are also key to priming the growth of oilseed demand in the country. Currently, Afghanistan imports more than 90 percent of its cooking oil. Much of that is palm oil. Afghanistan's poultry and livestock industries also look to expand with quality meal from oilseed crops, such as soybeans.
All the farmers will sell their soybeans to Afghanistan's first oilseed processing facility, which the WISHH project helped open last year. This processing facility features an Iowa-made soybean extruder. Throughout the three-year project, 6,000 MT (220,000 bu) of U.S. soybeans augment local production processed in the plant
Since being founded by U.S. soybean farmers in 2000, WISHH has worked in 24 countries to improve diets, as well as encouraged growth of food industries. The WISHH program is managed from ASA's world headquarters in St. Louis. For more information, visit www.wishh.org.