A Cass County woman who has accepted a job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be traveling to Afghanistan to serve as an agricultural advisor. Denise O’Brien, from Atlantic, will head to Nangahar Province, on the Pakistan border. O’Brien, who recently celebrated her 61st birthday, says she’s in good health, and simply wants to help others around the world involved in agriculture.
O’Brien says she’s always had an adventuresome spirit, and that started over 40-years ago when she traveled to Hiroshima, Japan as an exchange student. She says as long as she’s healthy and has an adventuresome spirit, she’ll continue to travel. She’s also traveled to Italy, and someday plans to travel to Africa.
She says her travels are not for entertainment, as most of her experiences have included living for a short time in the local villages and working with farmers, especially women. O’Brien says security is a concern in the war-torn country, but she’s got America’s best men and women who will work to ensure her safety.
O’Briend says she’ll be living on a military base and will have a military escort anytime she leaves the forward operating base she’ll be assigned to. She says there are other civilians who have traveled or will be traveling to the country as well, including those with the U.S.D.A. and N.R.C.S., to help restore the country’s infrastructure and assist farmers. They’ll be working to establish a sort of “extension service” for the local farmers, and other such services.
O’Brien says they are also trying to start an agriculture department to give farmers the support they need. O’Brien leaves Iowa for language training in Washington, D.C. on February 23rd, and depart for Afghanistan on March 27th. She will be away from Iowa for about three months.
By Ric Hansen, KJAN, Atlantic