Charles Ruffner

Charles Ruffner received his Ph.D. in old-growth forest ecology from Pennsylvania State University in 1999 and currently serves as Professor of Forestry at Southern Illinois University where he teaches courses in Forest Measurements, Fire Management,  and International Agriculture.  During his last year of sabbatical leave, he served in Zabul Province, Afghanistan with the Mississippi National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team as Hydrologist and Watershed Planner. Before this deployment he served as instructor for the Agriculture Development for Afghanistan Pre-deployment Training program focusing on Rural Land Use Issues and Soil Conservation and Erosion Control Measures.  Previous overseas experience was gained as Field Forester on a USAID funded program in Afghanistan from 2008-2011 and during his service as a Field Artillery Surveyor in the US Army from 1986-1994.

Interaction among foreign forces and local farmers was perhaps never more important for mission success than in Afghanistan over the course of OEF.

In Afghanistan, and across much of the developing world, agriculture is the primary enterprise and key to local food security, as well as national and regional political stability.