Ag Secretary Mike Johanns announced this week that USDA is requesting proposals from U.S. land-grant institutions to strengthen ag extension and training at Iraqi ag universities. Johanns says USDA is providing USDA staff as needed in Iraq and is working to develop ag credit training there.

This program is designed to match U.S. colleges and universities with Iraqi ag universities to conduct joint ag projects and provide training for Iraqi faculty members. Possible areas of technical cooperation include production of wheat, barley, rice, fruits, vegetables, sheep and goats, animal health initiatives and water resources management.

This USDA action builds on other U.S. efforts over the past three years to help Iraq rebuild its ag sector, which is the second largest contributor to the economy behind oil and it has the greatest potential to provide jobs in Iraq.
-- Clint Peck