Duenow is one of six soldiers in a central "ag team" who received an additional two months of training by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Jefferson County.

"A lot of what we were trying to impress upon them was how to communicate with farmers so they can become resources for the locals, go-to guides for information regarding agriculture," said CCE dairy and livestock specialist Ronald Kuck.

The other participants of the Cornell educational sessions will be dispatched around Afghanistan in different battalions.

Staff Sgt. David Thomasson, who grew up on a 1,600-acre cattle and vegetable farm in North Carolina, was already familiar with the conditions in Afghanistan, having been deployed there three times before. He said learning the differences between agriculture in the two countries will better enable him to do outreach.

"I will have a little more knowledge, for myself and to share with other people," Thomasson said.

The event is part of an extensive CCE outreach effort into the Fort Drum community. Another recent initiative in collaboration with 4-H involved engaging military children and their families in such "civic ecology" projects as gardening, tree planting, stream restoration and invasive species removal.