News: Kansas farmer finds his niche in rural Afghanistan
By U.S. Army Capt. Wes Topel
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Looking to the symbol of the National Guard, we see a Revolutionary War soldier, musket in hand, standing beside a farm plow.
Several states, including Kansas, have recognized the wealth of Guardsmen with deep roots in farming or civilian occupations in the agri-sciences.
At age 54, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Baxa, of Salina, Kan., may be the oldest member of the Kansas Agri-business Development Team, but his constant energy level and determination to share his expertise with the people of Afghanistan keeps him very young at heart.
Growing up in the rural community of Randall, Kan., Baxa has been involved in some level of farming all his life and worked for many years on his brother-in-law’s family farm. This experience allows Baxa to apply a half century worth of farming knowledge in to share with farmers of Afghanistan.
Serving as the team’s hydrologist, his knowledge of proper irrigation, water conservation and land management is essential to the work the team hopes to accomplish with local farmers.
Baxa believes in the ADT mission and fully enjoys working with Afghan farmers to reinforce techniques that will lead to better crop production and, in turn, better lives for the people of Afghanistan.
He focuses his work on specialized micro-grants, small monetary awards provided directly to the farmer. Baxa views the potential of the micro-grants as an avenue through which “young farmers’ dreams may come true”.
“You can live your dreams.” Baxa said, summing up his philosophy on life. “By simply stating, I truly have enjoyed life. I’ll go until the Army says, we do not need you anymore, or until my wife says, that is enough”.
Date Posted:11.09.2011 17:19
Location:LAGHMAN PROVINCE, AF
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