Photo Information

A worker preps a slat of wood to brace the concrete ceiling at what will be a dairy farm in Anah, Iraq, June 20. The building being worked on is one of four being erected at the future farm. The farm is a project that is being undertaken by the local government and is being funded by the government of Iraq. The facility will be capable of processing cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

‘Got milk?’

20 Jun 2008 | Lance Cpl. Paul Torres

The purpose of the local government is to meet the needs of the people. One of the ways the local government here is doing this is by building a dairy farm.

“The farm will consist of four buildings which will house about seventy cows per buildings,” said Army Lt. Col. Allen R. Gifford, 49, from Osseo, Wis., who is the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team liaison officer with the American Embassy in Baghdad. “The facility will also be able to process other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.”

The project idea came from the local government in Anah and so far has been funded by the government of Iraqi rather than Coalition forces.

“It is a good example of the local government taking it upon themselves to provide for their citizens, said Gunnery Sgt. Gary M. Gonzalez, 39, from Alhambra, Calif., who is the assistant team leader with Detachment 1, Civil Affairs Team 5, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5.

The GOI has largely handled the project, however, ePRT and CA Team 5 have offered their support in any way necessary.

“We are planning on helping them install the irrigation system needed to water the alfalfa fields,” said Gifford.

The farm is not only an important element in helping rebuild the local infrastructure, but it will also profit the surrounding areas.

“This farm will benefit the whole province by providing dairy products, said Rajab Hamid, who is the representative for the company contracted to build the farm. “They are also planning on employing around two hundred people from the city of Anah. Most of the people I hire to work on the construction come from the city, so it is already providing jobs.”

The local government has already received a positive response from the people when they began taking applications to work at the farm at the local city council building.

The support from the local people is also apparent in the progress the workers have made in such a short time.

“They have made a lot of progress since we saw the site a month ago,” said Gonzalez.

“We are about eighty percent complete with the structures, then we start installing the equipment, said Hamid.

The structures are scheduled to be finished by July and the farm is expected to open soon after that.