An Iowan who works for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will head to Iraq soon to share his knowledge of agriculture. Bruce Trautman of Fairfield will join other USDA employees in Iraq. Trautman says they’ll be working with the University of New Mexico and the University of Tikrit to build an extension service in Iraq.
Trautman doesn’t know if the system will be exactly like Iowa’s extension system, as they want to build it to meet the needs of the people there. He says they’ll seek out local farmers and ministers of agriculture and asking them what they want to do, and then help them use their money for their projects. Trautman says there will be some agricultural similarities in Iraq and Iowa.
Trautman says the area where he is going has a great deal of wheat production, which is being underutilized, and they hope to bring some of the production back. The tumultuous situation in Iraq adds some danger to Trautman’s assignment.
Trautman says it is a concern, and they will be with the military, but working "outside the wire" on farms. Trautman says rebuilding agriculture in Iraq can help in solving some of the other problems in the country.
Trautman says everything ties back together, and agriculture is the country’s second most important industry. Trautman will leave for Iraq sometime in tbe next couple of weeks and expects to be in Iraq for one year.