You may have seen groups of people in camouflage last week at University of Wisconsin-Madison. UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences once again provided a week of "Agriculture 101″ training for the Wisconsin National Guard's 97th Agricultural Development Team to help the soldiers prepare for deployment in Afghanistan. This is similar to last year's work with the 82nd ADT, which is now deployed in Kunar Province. The 97th will be headed to the same region. As was the case last year, the course is a joint effort of Dave Kantor, Karen Nielsen and others at the Babcock Institute and Jeff Breuer of the Arlington Agricultural Research Station.
It was a packed curriculum. The bulk of the training took place at Arlington, but the ADT was on campus on Tuesday, at the Meat and Muscle Biology Lab, learning about meat processing from Jeff Sindelar, and in the Stock Pavilion, learning about veterinary medicine from Benjamin Darien of the School of Veterinary Medicine. On Wednesday they visited a couple of area farms that raise goats and poultry. They spent part of Thursday at the West Madison research station, where Judy Reith-Rozelle talked about fruits and vegetables, and at the Nevin Fish Hatchery, hosted by DNR's Mike Aquino.
Others involved in the training included Matt Ruark (soils and fertilizers); Janet Hedtcke (seeds and planting); Dan Heider (pest management); Matt Atkins (feed preservation); Bob Kaiser (cattle); Rusty Burgett (sheep); Rebecca Harbut (pomegranates and nuts); Bill Bland (water management); Rhonda Gildersleeve (rangeland and pasture); Vance Haugen (alternative and rural power); and Liba Brent (working with women and handicraft production).