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Ky Guard deploys 5th agribusiness team to Afghanistan

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Approximately 39 members of the Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team 5 departed here Oct. 23 for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, adjutant general for Kentucky, and the Kentucky National Guard command staff joined friends and families of the team members for a send-off ceremony held at the Kentucky State University Demonstration Farm.

"This mission is certainly unique," said Tonini. "The ADT mission was designed to rebuild Afghanistan's economy and give stability to its government. Because of our background in agriculture and the stellar reputation of the Kentucky Guard, we've led the way in providing these skill sets to the Afghan people."

ADT 5 will take the reins from Kentucky's ADT 4, which has been in Afghanistan since February. The mission of the new team is to continue the work undertaken by the previous four Kentucky units in assisting local Afghans to become agriculturally self-sufficient and develop their agriculture marketplace.

In addition to agriculture activities, ADT 5 will be instrumental in coordinating an effort with the Kentucky F.F.A. (previously known as Future Farmers of America), Kandahar University in Afghanistan and several non-profit organizations to create programs to improve the incomes of Afghan farmers.

ADT 5 is made up of Airmen, Soldiers and civilian agricultural specialists with a variety of skills and backgrounds in agriculture matters.

Col. Bob Hayter, the commander of ADT 5, feels fully prepared for the mission they're about to embark on.

"We have five more weeks of training before we put boots on the ground in Afghanistan, and I know we could go today. We're that ready."