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US uni helps teach poultry basics to Afghan farmers

Poultry scientists in the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture recently taught poultry production basics to a National Guard agricultural development team headed to Afghanistan.

Soldiers from the 1-45 Agricultural Development Team of the Oklahoma National Guard attended a Poultry Production Short Course on 29 July. The guardsmen will be deployed to Afghanistan in October and will train Afghan farmers on raising poultry as a food source.

The unit, led by Major Doug Christerson, attended the 8-hour short course to learn a variety of information and techniques regarding the basic anatomy of the chicken, the recognition, treatment and prevention of common diseases, bird nutrition, breeder management, and managing small flocks.

“This team will face many challenges in their mission,” said Dustan Clark, interim associate centre director of extension and extension veterinarian at the Centre of Excellence for Poultry Science, and organiser of the short course. “It is a religious taboo for men to teach women in Afghanistan and women are the ones who care for livestock and poultry. This unit has 4 women and they will do the actual training.”

The training of the locals will take place at a university as well as in villages in the surrounding areas. Those trained at the University will return to their homes and pass what they learned about basic poultry production to others in their area and so on.

Lectures and demonstrations were conducted by Division of Agriculture faculty members Susan Watkins, extension poultry specialist; Keith Bramwell, extension reproductive physiologist; Dustan Clark, interim associate centre director of extension and extension veterinarian; Nick Anthony, professor of poultry breeding and genetics, and Anne Fanatico, research associate with the USDA’s Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit. Josh Payne, area animal waste management specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service – Oklahoma State University, also lectured on the value of litter as a fertilizer.

Source: University of Arkansas

Natalie Berkhout

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