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    Micro-dairy plant brings Kirkuk local farmers together

    Kirkuk PRT Deputy Director tours micro-dairy plant

    Photo By Sgt. Kandi Huggins | Lt. Col. David Schimsa, deputy director of Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team,...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division

    CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq – For the first time in the history of the province, people of various ethnic backgrounds and communities came together to build four micro-dairy production plants in the districts of the Kirkuk province. The first micro-dairy plant fully equipped with milk-processing machines opened Feb. 17 in Kirkuk, Iraq.

    “We’re hoping with this new technology [dairy production] will take off, making Iraq more self-sufficient and giving them a stepping stone to a solid future,” said Lt. Col. David Schimsa, deputy director of Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team, attached to 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan., deployed with U.S. Division-North in support of Operation New Dawn.

    Due to damage of the main dairy processing plant in 2003, dairy production had all but ceased within the communities and districts of Kirkuk, depleting the resources of local farmers.

    “One of our goals in making these small dairy production plants is to give the local farmers an opportunity to sell their milk to the dairy plant, have the dairy plant turn the milk into cheese and yogurt, and distribute [the products] to the local markets,” said Ken Apple, the Provincial Reconstruction Team industry advisor.

    Representatives from Kirkuk province and the four micro-dairy plants visited the newly opened site to receive training from M. Germaiani, a dairy specialist hired by the Agriculture Department of Kirkuk to manage, mentor and teach local district dairy farmers on the proper way to use and sanitize the equipment.

    “It’s amazing to see these districts, who typically don’t get along, put aside their differences and collaborate with each other to help the local farmers and the city of Kirkuk,” said Apple.

    He explained how this project reminded him of a “barn raising, an event where individuals commit their time and labor to rebuild a damaged barn, benefitting the entire community.

    U.S. forces and the Kirkuk PRT used the commander’s emergency response program to facilitate the construction of the dairies and to acquire equipment enabling the plants to produce up to six tons of dairy product in one day, including cheese and yogurt.



    Date Taken: 02.21.2011
    Date Posted: 02.25.2011 07:52
    Story ID: 66050

    Web Views: 350
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