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AERT Training Held at Wing HQ

Fencing station
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1st Lt Donna Parker (left) works with C/A1C Elijah Head at the fencing station building a temporary livestock fence. (click image to view full size)
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CAP teams prepare for agricultural disasters

5/1/2017––On Saturday 22 April 2017, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture conducted Agriculture Emergency Response Team Training (AERT) at NC Wing Headquarters. AERT provides a conduit for CAP members to help farmers following a disaster or other negative event that impacts farming operations. After AERT training, CAP members can be deployed to help local farmers resume normal farming operations as soon as possible after a disaster strikes.

Seventeen CAP members from 8 NCWG squadrons participated in the AERT training. AERT trainees came from around the state including members from the NC Wing Staff, the Burlington Composite Squadron, Charlotte Senior Squadron, Winston Salem Composite Squadron, Gastonia Composite Squadron, the 111th Search and Rescue Composite Squadron, Orange County Composite Squadron and the Raleigh-Wake Composite Squadron.
To begin the training, there was a short and effective classroom presentation (we confirmed that tobacco is still the #1 cash crop in North Carolina.) The classroom portion was followed by four outdoor “hands-on” exercises in each of the areas of labor that CAP members would be responsible for, should the need arise.
For the first three learning experiences, the trainees were divided into small groups. The “fencing station” involved building a temporary fence. The “fallen crops station” illustrated just how much safety is really a concern. The “tarping station” required careful teamwork, with the tarps being easily torn, yet having to cover survival equipment such as generators and feed. 
For the “debris station,” everyone came together under the direction of Lt Col Pete Bohler to do a long sweep of a debris-covered grassy field. Obstacles such as potentially hazardous waste, deep holes and dangerous animals were covered in this session.  
All in all, many agricultural skills were learned, fun was had and, at the end, a delicious BBQ lunch from Hursey’s BBQ was served. 
Instructors for the AERT course were: 
Mr. John Howard - NC Department of Agriculture Emergency Programs Director
Dr. Bruce Akers, DVM
Mr. John Ross Robertson - AERT Project Manager
Mr. Cody Gastry - NC Dept of Agriculture