A group of Camp Pendleton Marines is spending some quality time in California's breadbasket to learn about farming - with the idea that they'll pass on what they learn to Afghans, according to the Associated Press.
California State University, Fresno farming experts are teaching Marines with Pendleton's 11th Marine Regiment Civil Affairs Detachment the most up-to-date agricultural skills, like how to irrigate crops properly and livestock care. These Marines will share what they've learned with Afghan farmers when they deploy to Afghanistan. The troops are engaged in hands-on learning, with the Fresno fields as their classrooms.
Poppy farming is big business in Afghanistan, and it fuels that country's illegal opium trade - a trade which helps fund the Taliban. 1st Lt. Karl Kadon with the Marines Civil Affairs Detachment tells the AP helping Afghans fine tune their farming skills could help stem that tide:
About fifty Camp Pendleton Marines are participating in the farming technique classes. CSU Fresno officials say they're considering expanding the program to the National Guard.