Etcetera - 09/21/10

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recognized the work of Daytonian Greg Schlenz in a Sept. 8 ceremony in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Greg was one of 24 individuals recognized by the USDA who served as civilian agricultural experts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He and fellow agricultural experts were part of the Obama Administration efforts to provide civilian assistance abroad to help promote long-term economic development.

Greg served in Afghanistan.

"It is an honor for me to recognize these brave and devoted employees for their tremendous service to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq," Vilsack said in a release.

The livelihoods of some 85 percent of Afghans are from agriculture and 78 percent of the Afghan labor force works in agriculture. Agriculture represents 10 percent of Iraq's overall economy.

Because agriculture is so important to both Afghanistan and Iraq, agricultural development is playing a major role in establishing stability and security in both countries.

USDA experts help teach people to increase productivity on the farm, develop functioning markets, improve availability of agricultural credit, and enhance infrastructure along the supply chain

USDA agricultural experts began serving in Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2006 and work alongside civilians from the departments of State, Justice, and Interior, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development and Army National Guard.

The majority of the individuals serve as extension agents within civilian-military field units called Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

Currently, USDA has more than 90 personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. For more information about serving in Afghanistan, U.S. citizens or USDA employees may go to www.usajobs.gov and search under the keywords of "USDA Afghanistan."

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Three area students earned bachelor's degrees from Whitworth University in Spokane: Torance Bye of Pomeroy; Joshua Pereyda of College Place; and Stephanie Reardon of Walla Walla.

Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

The university, which enrolls 2,700 students, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.

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Editor Rick Doyle shared some interesting details with our staff about August 2010.

This year the 31-day month contained five Sundays, five Mondays and five Tuesdays.

"It happens once in 823 years. I'll probably miss the next one," he said.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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