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Written by Elaine Sandberg, Information Services
New documents crossing my way today were many routine items: newsletters, annual handbooks, the December issue of The State Register. All valuable items to a permanent record of our state's history. However, none out of the ordinary. Until I noticed "Afghanistan" in an article on the back of the South Carolina Market Bulletin for January 5, 2012. That country name--so far away from our South Carolina farms--didn't seem to fit with a weekly newspaper that regularly offers tractors for sale! The article turned out to be one from Commissioner Hugh E. Weathers and reports on a project to send a team of soldiers from the South Carolina Army National Guard to Afghanistan for a full year to promote sustainable farming practices there.

Afghanistan has a strong agricultural past and nearly 80% of Afghans depend upon agriculture for their livelihood and personal food. Under colonel Brad Owens the SC team will not be coming into modern day farming; rather, they will experience farming as we would have done more than a full century ago. But crops that can grow there are similar to what we grow here: cotton, corn, tobacco, and fruits and vegetables. The team will introduce new techniques and some new technology in an effort to help the Afghans make a life after war and terrorism.

This current issue of The Market Bulletin is available at the State Library. Electronic issues are available at the agency website https://agriculture.sc.gov/content.aspx?ContentID=413 (a subscription is necessary to view the current issue).

For more information, contact the State Library's Information Services Department at reference@statelibrary.sc.gov or 803-734-8026.