USDA Volunteer Killed in Afghanistan

Ag advisor on reconstruction team killed in explosion.

Tom Stefani, of the USDA Forest Service was killed Thursday in Afghanistan when the convoy he was riding in was hit by an explosion near Ghazni.

Stefani, a rangeland specialist at the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada, had volunteered as an agricultural advisor for a Provincial Reconstruction Team with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Afghanistan. Agricultural advisors volunteer for six to nine month assignments attached to a military unit that provides support and help to the agricultural sectors in Iraq and Afghanistan

Stefani worked closely with the Ghazni Director of Agriculture to create a plan for reconstruction that included a poultry rearing facility, improving grape production and management and the building of a cold storage facility for farmers to store products for sale.

"The fact that Tom recently requested an extension of his service time in Afghanistan speaks to his courage and commitment to protecting our freedom and creating a better life for a deserving people," says acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner. "I extend my deepest condolences to Tom's parents, brothers and friends. They should be very proud of all that Tom accomplished; both here at home and abroad."

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