Strengthening Sustainable Agriculture Programming with Native American Producers in the West
Historically, participation of American Indian producers in USDA sponsored programs has not been high and yet, American Indian leadership verbalizes the need for strengthening agriculture on Indian lands. Conversely, USDA professionals describe their difficulty in reaching this audience. Specifically, this program addresses the educational needs of agricultural professionals who describe their difficulty in reaching American Indian Tribes or American Indian producers in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
This professional development program led by the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension with collaboration from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Agency and Intertribal Agriculture Council, will have three primary objectives. The objective are 1) To prepare USDA and other agriculture professionals with the knowledge and understanding of the Tribes or Native American agriculture producers; 2) To strengthen and increase sustainable agriculture programming with Tribes and Native American producers in the West by USDA and other agriculture professionals; and 3) To increase the participation of Tribes or Native American agriculture producers in the educational programming and services or programs offered by USDA agencies.
We have been working on WSARE Project EW05-005 since October 2005. Three years later, we are close to completing our scope of work and have created a curriculum entitled “People of the Land: Sustaining American Indian Agriculture in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The curriculum was given a formal publication number (UNCE Curriculum-09-01) in January of 2009. The curriculum is currently at the printer undergoing final editing and design. The curriculum was piloted in 2008 on area reservations, and formal piloting took place at the 2008 IAC/INCA Symposium in Las Vegas, UNR Ethnic Studies class on American Indians, and a modified version was used to teach 4-H youth professionals working for Nevada Cooperative Extension.
Final publication should take place the first of March 2009. Workshops in each of the 4 states will be scheduled for April and May. A training brochure will be produced for March to send out to state NRCS, FSA and CE offices. We will be limiting class sizes to 40 people. If there is a need, we may be open to holding more training sessions in respective states.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Each of the reservation pilots and fact finding tours has resulted in increased participation and support for the curriculum. The total number of contacts were increased from 1,067 to about 1,200, with the majority (98%) being American Indian. Evaluation results from three piloting sessions are reported below. Table 2a illustrated selected evaluation results of a half-day pilot of a modified curriculum targeting UNCE’s 4-H and youth development professionals. Almost half of the learning objectives realized are statistically significant. Changes between pre-test and post-test scores are higher in all 13 areas resulting in a change in knowledge gained (questions 1-8) and participants behavior (questions 9-13). Table 2b illustrates the evaluation results for a second modified and condensed session geared toward college students and agricultural professionals. Four out of the five learning objectives indicated a statistically significant increase in knowledge gained.
Tables are reported in submitted reports to WSARE representatives.
Intertribal Agriculture Council
Natural Resources Conservation Service