Building Internal Capacity for the Blackfeet Tribe Agricultural Resource Management Plan (ARMP)

Final report for EW18-027

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $52,155.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Blackfeet Tribe
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Loren Bird Rattler
Blackfeet Tribe
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Project Information

Abstract:

The “Building Internal Capacity for the Blackfeet Tribe Agricultural Resource Management Plan
(ARMP)” project aims to build internal capacity by further professionalizing the existing
workforce through classroom and field courses and attendance of professional conferences, and
support sustainable agricultural practices through a Sustainable Agriculture Train-the-Trainer
course series delivered through the MSU Tribal Extension Office. These trainings are aligned
with the goals of the ARMP, which intends to improve economic conditions and political
sovereignty of the Tribe by building the agricultural industry on the Reservation and
implementing holistic, food sovereignty projects that connect agriculture with community health.
By building capacity internally, the Tribe can ensure the success of projects managed by
dedicated professionals who are attuned to realities on the reservation, cultural, political,
climatic, or otherwise. Anticipate outcomes include train the trainer curriculum materials that
may be adapted to other tribal communities and courses that tribal producers may attend to gain
exposure to new techniques and solutions to existing challenges.

Project Objectives:

(Objective 1): Further professionalize the core ARMP agricultural professionals to meet
the goals and objectives of the ARMP through professional society conferences and
workshops and distance and field courses focused on project management and other
sustainable agriculture content (Tribe, ARMP PI, MSU).

(Objective 2): Development and delivery of a sustainable agricultural focused, Extension
sponsored, Train-the-Trainer series that will benefit the full ARMP team and producers.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Will Seeley (Educator)
  • Graham Gaither (Educator)
  • Teri Dahle (Educator)
  • Dawn Falcon (Educator)

Education

Educational approach:

 Build internal capacity by further professionalizing the existing
workforce through classroom and field courses and attendance of professional conferences, and
support sustainable agricultural practices through a Sustainable Agriculture Train-the-Trainer
course series delivered through the MSU Tribal Extension Office.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Invasive Species Management - Biological Application
Objective:

To teach local land owners, producers, farmers and growers about biological invasive species management, mitigation and application.

Description:
Spotted Knapweed and Biologicals - A Range Tour and Collection
Outcomes and impacts:

All participants left with information and practical implementation strategies for biological invasive species management.  The participants consisted of farmers, ranchers, and Blackfeet Community College students.  

Food Safety and FSMA
Objective:

This FSMA training course was developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and is the “standardized curriculum” recognized by FDA.

This course is specifically designed to follow the requirements set forth by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to meet Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) criteria for Preventive Controls Qualified Individual.

As an essential role within a food processing facility, the preventive controls qualified individual is crucial to the management and preparation of the food safety plan, validation of preventive controls and more.

Companies subject to this rule must ensure that their food safety system is developed and applied by an individual who has successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls.

As a leader in professional training, we offer you unrivaled expertise in the requirements for becoming a preventive controls qualified individual, as well as in-depth knowledge of the standardized curriculum recognized by FDA.

Description:

Two ARMP planning team members were trained and then certified to train on the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The training curriculum was developed by Cornell University and is required in all FSMA training.  This training was offered to Blackfeet growers to ensure they are in compliance with the provisions around food safety for commercial produce production.  The two ARMP trainers also participated on the working group to customize the FSMA curriculum to align it with the jurisdictional complexities of Indian Trust Land management functions and the challenges associated with growing on Trust lands.  The Blackfeet ARMP partnered with the University of Arkansas - Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative on both efforts, the FSMA training and participation on the working group to customize the FSMA curriculum to ensure it included Indian Trust Land provisions.  

You can find the training flyer here:   FSMA_flyer_MT

Outcomes and impacts:

Trained ten growers or people interested in commercial produce production.  

Educational & Outreach Activities

11 Consultations
4 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 On-farm demonstrations
12 Online trainings
4 Published press articles, newsletters
8 Tours
77 Webinars / talks / presentations
11 Workshop field days
6 Other educational activities: Have guest lectured at the Blackfeet Community College, Montana State University, University of Montana School of Law, University of Arkansas School of Law (Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative - Youth Agriculture Program), Big Sky Watershed Corps Program, Montana Conservation Corps Program, The Network for Landscape Conservation Strategic Planning Session, Strengthening the Circle, Rocky Boy Food Sovereignty Event, Roots of a Sovereign Nation

Participation Summary:

1 Extension
6 NRCS
25 Researchers
60 Nonprofit
10 Agency
25 Farmers/ranchers
65 Others

Learning Outcomes

5000 Participants gained or increased knowledge, skills and/or attitudes about sustainable agriculture topics, practices, strategies, approaches
500 Ag professionals intend to use knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness learned

Project Outcomes

9 Grants received that built upon this project
4 New working collaborations
Project outcomes:

Travel and employee training opportunities afforded by the WSARE funding allowed our programmatic staff to spread the mission of the Blackfeet ARMP to over 50 new venues and audiences. This opportunity has allowed us to share not only the progress that our program has made, but each presentation offers documentation on how our ARMP has been developed with the community. This offers a translational model for participants to emulate for development of their own internal ARMPs, or other holistic resource conservation management plans.

Of the 5,000 people that we reached, approximately 500 were agriculture professionals, agriculture producers or farmers.  Because our effort was resulting in the first internally developed agriculture management plan for Tribes, our efforts under this grant afforded us the ability to influence Blackfeet and many other agriculture professionals across the country.  Both numbers are estimates as many venues where we shared our methodologies and implementation strategies were meetings not sponsored by us so we had not control over the sign in sheets or inventory of participants, however, both numbers also reflect the very low end of the number of people we reached which far exceeds our obligations under this grant.

4 Agricultural service provider participants who used knowledge and skills learned through this project (or incorporated project materials) in their educational activities, services, information products and/or tools for farmers
500 Farmers reached through participant's programs
Success stories:

Success Stories

Our outreach through presentation activities allowed us to gather partnerships such as National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA). Through these partnerships we were able to bring staff from NCAT and interns from INCA to a local producer’s fields to investigate new types of crops being grown on his land. The staff from NCAT include highly trained professionals in Western-centric agriculture resource management and the INCA interns were Blackfeet youth. By engaging audiences around the U.S. due to funding from WSARE, we were able to create a day wherein local youth engage with producers and professionals to develop connections that will last them lifetimes.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.