First Nations Development Institute Awards $250,000 to Support Native American Ranching Enterprises in Arizona and Colorado
LONGMONT, Colorado (October 5, 2015) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations [ http://www.firstnations.org ]) announced the selection of four Native American ranching enterprises to receive grants through First Nations' "Expanding Opportunities for Native American Ranchers" project for the 2015-16 funding cycle. The grants awarded total $250,000.
With funding from the Walmart Foundation [ http://foundation.walmart.com/ ], First Nations' staff is currently working with and providing financial and technical assistance to the selected Native organizations that is focused on cattle operations and building their organizational and programmatic capacity, which will assist them in improving their management of natural resources, help them engage younger community members in ranching enterprises, and expand their access to wholesale and retail markets. Under this project, the ranching organizations are receiving instruction and training on improving herd health, improving land-management practices and accessing new markets through regional convenings, a four-part webinar series and personalized technical assistance.
The selected grantees are:
*14R Ranch Inc., Chambers, Arizona, $62,500* – 14R Ranch is working to engage more Navajo cattle producers in the production and delivery of source-verified beef to the Navajo casinos at a premium price. After relocation to Nahata Dziil (New Lands) and working with Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch, producers found that with proper herd-health management they could get premium pricing for their cattle, but need more producers involved in order to meet the demand. 14R staff will conduct 10 outreach sessions for the Navajo Nation that will inform interested Navajo livestock producers about how they can participate in the Navajo Beef Program. 14R will conduct an open house during the fall 2015 livestock sale and invite 10 producers to observe the auction process and learn how to participate in the Navajo Beef Program. In January 2016, 14R will participate in a two-day strategic planning session that will produce a three-year strategic plan. In March 2016, 14R will provide a one-day, on-site training for participating producers on feeding efficiency and bull genetics.
*Grasshopper Livestock Association, Cibecue, Arizona, $60,000* – Grasshopper Livestock is focusing on creating a well-organized and sustainable enterprise while practicing good stewardship of the people, land and animals on their grazing allotment. Their livestock revitalization effort includes rebuilding the organizational structure by introducing members to new business, organizational and agricultural techniques, improving the management of natural resources, engaging younger people in the community, and eventually expanding into other markets. Grasshopper will implement best management practices by conducting a Cattleman's 101 training workshop for every association member to empower livestock producers to create a better breed of cow and increase marketability of cattle sent to market, as well as conducting a full-scale health assessment of entire herd to increase herd health and cattle quality.
*Point of Pines Livestock Association, San Carlos, Arizona, $65,000* – Point of Pines Livestock Association's overall goal is to create and retain a natural grass-fed beef operation by utilizing the land resources of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The ranch has more than 300,000 acres with a carrying capacity of over 3,000 head of cattle. Although cattle prices are high, Point of Pines believes it can get a higher prices for cattle in the natural grass-fed beef market. A market research study, conservation and business plan will be developed.
*Ute Mountain Ute Tribe & Ranch Enterprise, Towaoc, Colorado, $62,500* – Ute Mountain Ute Tribe & Ranch is working to increase grazing forage on minimal acres by utilizing proper stocking rates, education on vaccination protocol, quiet cattle-handling techniques to create a stress-free environment, and encouraging youth to participate in tribal ranching. Ute Mountain Ute will host a Mesa Man seminar for tribal members to promote education in herd health, understanding of stocking rates, and best practices for implementing quiet cattle-handling techniques.
Despite a long history of agriculture in Native American communities, training resources accessible to Native ranchers have not been widely available. With culturally-appropriate training and financial assistance, Native ranchers will be able to expand their opportunity to produce more locally and to use their resources in a more sustainable manner. Utilizing First Nations' "The Business of Indian Agriculture" curriculum, which is designed to help farmers and ranchers succeed in launching, expanding and/or improving management of Native-controlled agribusiness operations, First Nations conducted a three-day training and rancher facilitation session for the "Expanding Opportunities for Native American Ranchers" cohort at the Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in June 2015. "The Business of Indian Agriculture" curriculum offers five different modules covering Business, Accounting, Financial Management, Agribusiness Economics and Marketing, and Land Use and Management.
The "Expanding Opportunities for Native Ranchers" project partners – along with an additional 10 Native ranchers – will participate in the Third Annual Food Sovereignty Summit [ https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/?eventid=1656311 ] co-hosted by First Nations and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wisconsin, October 26-29, 2015. This will create significant networking and learning opportunities and a forum for sharing and collaboration for the individuals, as well as strengthening the capacity of the entire rancher group to build healthy, local food systems within our communities.
About First Nations Development Institute
For 35 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage, or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit http://www.firstnations.org [ http://www.firstnations.org ].