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USDA Employee Dan Kugler Deploys to Help Rebuild Afghanistan’s Agricultural Sector

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2010 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) today announced that Dan Kugler, a Deputy Administrator with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in Washington, D.C., recently deployed to serve a 1-year assignment in Afghanistan as an Agricultural Ministry Expert to help rebuild that country’s agricultural sector. Since 2003, USDA has deployed more than 100 people for medium- and long-term assignments in Afghanistan and allotted roughly $256 million in food aid to the country.

“The efforts of people like Dan Kugler are crucial for creating a stable, democratic and economically viable Afghanistan,” said John Brewer, Administrator for FAS. “Whether their expertise is in agriculture and natural resource policy, soil and water conservation, or agribusiness development, volunteers like Dan are contributing their specialized skills to help farmers, citizens and national and provincial government leaders of Afghanistan rebuild knowledge, institutional capacity and livelihoods. Together, we are providing the foundation on which the agricultural economy of the country can prosper and thrive and create political and social stability.”

In 2003, USDA employees were among the first civilians to bring technical expertise to civilian-military units, also called Provincial Reconstruction Teams or PRTs, in Afghanistan. PRTs are composed of U.S. and coalition military personnel and civilians from such agencies as the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development and USDA.

USDA projects to date in Afghanistan have included installing windmills to pump water for irrigation and livestock, training veterinarians to detect and treat parasites, rehabilitating a university’s agricultural research laboratory, stabilizing eroded river banks and irrigation canals, developing post-harvest storage facilities, rehabilitating degraded orchards, mentoring provincial directors of agriculture to help them improve their services to farmers, and reforestation.

Most USDA employees deployed to Afghanistan serve as Agricultural Experts, working instructively with Afghans across the country’s 34 provinces to strengthen the capacity of the local government, rebuild agricultural markets, and improve management of natural resources. In addition to Agricultural Experts, USDA currently maintains two Foreign Service Officers within the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, as well as up to 10 Agricultural Ministry Experts who work with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) to help build the institution’s ability to develop and deliver services.

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Kugler was raised close to Rochester as well as in the Chicago area. He went on to attend Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he earned the following degrees: a Bachelor of Science in physics, a Master of Science in natural resource development, and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Kugler served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan from 1971 through 1973.

General information about USDA’s programs and activities in Afghanistan can be found at


Matt Herrick (202) 720-0551

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Right, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

PR 0175-10

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