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Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.

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This is my final article from Iraq. My 16-month tour is over. I have traveled about 40 percent of my time here, reaching every province but one. I have worked with nearly two dozen USDA ag advisers in the field and several of them here in Baghdad.

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The following are select comments shared during the open public comment periods at the USDA/U.S. Department of Justice dairy workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, on June 25.

“We’ve always been cooperative members. … It is a relief to hear the change of direction that occurred that the Capper-Volstead Act is not under the gun. My co-op supports our family by finding the best price for our product and a low cost for our inputs. Both those needs are important, as we found out in spades in the last year and a half. As dairy producers we are tremendously good at what we do. We’re not so good at marketing most of the time.

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I am in travel status most of my last few months here in Iraq. As I write, I have just less than a month to finish my 16-month tour. I look forward to turning my PPE, or body armor, in for the last time. That will be done in Kuwait at Ali Al Salem Air Base.

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Throughout high school and college it seemed like everyone I knew had a seasonal or part-time job working at a restaurant. I remember one really fun summer as a cook at my uncle’s restaurant. His managers typically only hired cute girls to work the “front of the house,” so I never made my way up near the customers.

However, I learned a lot of interesting things working in the bar and restaurant industry that summer. In fact, one of the lessons I learned was that it’s not politically correct to call waiters and waitresses by those titles. For those of you who haven’t already heard, the proper term these days is server.

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One day a few years ago, my son brought home a sport’s bag he got at school in freshman gym class. On the bag was a new, at least to me, dairy slogan: Milk – The Ultimate Sports Drink.

One Google search later and I had information about the topic and the seed of a promotion idea.

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In a war zone of diplomacy and development, successes can be far and few between. When we do have one, all the spent effort seems worthwhile, and the terms of success are sustainable.

I often write in this column that one of our primary objectives should be coming home. That means we help those that want help, and then when they are ready to do the lifting on their own, we are done.

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