From left, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Capt. Michael Haley, and daughter Rena Haley, 14, talk Jan. 10 before a deployment ceremony for the South Carolina Army National Guard 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team at McCrady Training Center at Ft. Jackson, S.C. (Rainier Ehrhardt / AP)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, left, comforts her son, Nalin, 10, and her daughter, Rena, 14, as her husband, Capt. Michael Haley, right, gets ready for a deployment ceremony Jan. 10 for the South Carolina Army National Guard 3/49 Agribusiness Development Team at McCrady Training Center at Ft. Jackson, S.C. (Rainier Ehrhardt / AP)
FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley's husband Michael is departing with his Army National Guard unit for a month of training before deploying to Afghanistan.
Capt. Michael Haley's unit was given a send-off Thursday by family, friends and Guard officials at a National Guard site at Fort Jackson outside Columbia.
The governor's office issued a statement on her behalf as her husband left for Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
"We are a proud military family who understands the sacrifices any family goes through when a loved one is serving his or her country," Haley said.
She said her husband is looking forward to his mission, but she and her children will miss him.
"Rena, Nalin and I are proud of Michael and will pray for his - and all others' - safe return," she said.
The unit is not scheduled to return to South Carolina before its yearlong mission.
The unit is the third South Carolina Army National Guard group to work for a year with Afghan farmers to improve farming practices.
The unit is formally known as the 3-49th Agribusiness Development Team and will work in Helmand province.
Haley joined the guard as an officer in 2006. This will be his first deployment overseas. He has served as a medical service corps officer and a planning officer in the Guard's Columbia headquarters.
"I'm proud of the accomplishments of our Agribusiness Development Teams and the outstanding precedence they've established in Afghanistan," said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, Jr., State Adjutant General and head of the 11,000-member Guard.
Livingston said the unit is trained and ready to help Afghans improve their way of life.
"We appreciate and are indebted to our South Carolina National Guard soldiers, airmen and families for the sacrifices they have made over the past 11-plus years of war," the two-star general said.
The agricultural mission by the National Guard in Afghanistan began in 2008. Units from nine states have worked in the country over the years.
The effort is geared at turning Afghan farmers away from growing poppies, which supports an opiate drug trade and subsidizes the Taliban.
The Afghan farmers have few mechanical aids, but many of their crops are similar to those grown in the southeastern U.S.
Many of the crops include cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat and barley, and vegetables include cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, okra and melons.