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Animal scientist speaks in Washington, D.C., about work overseas

May 23, 2002|STAFF REPORT

Animal science extentionist Juan N. Guerrero of El Centro briefed government officials and others in Washington, D.C., on May 13 and 14 about his most recent volunteer assignment in Egypt last March with the Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance.

While in Egypt, Guerrero advised on beef feedlot management.

Because of his success, Guerrero was asked by ACDI/VOCA to travel to the U.S. capital to report on the impact of his assignment and help the organization refine its use of citizen consultants.

Guerrero is a former Peace Corps volunteer and contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development who, through ACDI/VOCA, continues to apply his skills where they are needed overseas. He is area livestock adviser for the Imperial County-University of California Cooperative Extension Service and also teaches animal science at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Mexicali.

Guerrero has more than 15 years experience as a livestock development expert, working with sheep and beef cattle producers and providing information on livestock management for feedlots of southeast California. This includes the areas of nutrition, health, waste management and management. He also provides extension services to lamb grazers and advises on forage, especially irrigated desert forage agronomics. His expertise in warm climate livestock made him well-suited for the Egypt assignment.


That assignment was conducted under the auspices of ACDI/VOCA's AgLink project, a successful effort to strengthen Egyptian livestock and dairy industries and at the same time build trade and business ties between the U.S. and Egypt. This was Guerrero's second ACDI/VOCA assignment in Egypt, although he has carried out assignments for ACDI/VOCA in Mongolia and Uganda. In September he is planning to go to China under the U.S. Department of Commerce auspices to attend a desertification conference.

While in Egypt, each day Guerrero visited two cattle farms in the Nile Delta, Upper Egypt and New Lands, an area of reclaimed desert lands bordering the delta and the Nile Valley. He offered training and advice on improved beef feedlot management, including animal health, low-cost ration formulation and use of feed additives.

The farm visits soon became a blur, so Guerrero found another way to be useful.

"One of the most important things I did was work with local AgLink staff to build their capacities to apply the useful University of California Taurus software and to work with their farmer clients," he said. "After all, our No. 1 objective as aid providers is to work ourselves out of a job."

Guerrero was in Egypt when hostilities in Palestine erupted and had to be escorted at times by police. He said in his opinion it is imperative for U.S. aid to be in the region, both to lend economic assistance that will lead to stability and to make friends for the U.S.

ACDI/VOCA is a nonprofit economic development organization based in Washington. To complement long-term economic development projects in 40 developing and transitional countries, ACDI/VOCA recruits U.S. business, finance, agricultural and environmental experts to work on a people-to-people basis. Thousands of Americans have donated their time and talent in more than 100 countries through ACDI/VOCA.

In addition to meeting with ACDI/VOCA staff, Guerrero discussed his assignment with representatives from the Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which funded the project.

He also paid informational visits to the Capitol Hill offices of senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

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