Ill. National Guard soldiers take ag training

By The Associated Press

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois National Guard says 19 soldiers have taken what can be a dirty job to a new level.

The soldiers recently spent two days at the farms of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale to learn skills they'll pass along to farmers in Afghanistan next year.

The training covered everything from controlling pests to handling cow manure.

Trainer Phil Eberle spent time in Afghanistan with the Peace Corps and on academic trips.

He says soldiers will need to help Afghan farmers combine modern agriculture technology with their own cultural practices.

The soldiers are members of the guard's Agriculture Development Team.

Spc. Nathaniel Stewart of Oblong says he volunteered for the mission because it's a unique opportunity to help people.

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