Enhancing Profit Margins for Pawnee Corn Growers: Innovative Strategies for Value-Added Product Development and Marketing

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2024: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: Pawnee Seed Preservation Society
Region: Southern
State: Oklahoma
Principal Investigator:
Debra Echo-Hawk
Pawnee Seed Preservation Society


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

To increase access, affordability, and sale of three value added
Indigenous non-GMO products produced PSPS to citizens of Pawnee,
OK.  By using existing resources from our university
partnerships (mainly OSU and PNC) for oversight and guidance with
a market plan for at least three value added products made from /
by PSPS that result in increased awareness, access, and sales of
 PSPS products made from PSPS crops. Through taste testing,
product strategy and sales projections PSPS can maximize future
resources and availability to low income residents of

Through education and experience gained through this project,
PSPS staff will have skillset needed to improve marketing of
value-added products that bring affordable products to Pawnee


Oklahoma State University located approximately 28 miles from
PSPS, and Pawnee Nation College, located less than a mile from
PSPS, have been partnering for over five years and have offered
classes and certification sessions that include: FSMA, MCCA,
Master Gardener, Marketing and have promoted farmers markets in
Pawnee, OK.  Pawnee Nation College is registered as part of
the Nebraska Indian Community College system, a 1994 Land Grant
college.   These activities / classes have generated
interests from local American Indian students to continue studies
in agriculture and have resulted in long-standing partnership and


Ravi Jadeja, PHD associate professor at Oklahoma State University
has taught classes offered through Pawnee Nation College and is
familiar with PSPS.  He has been instrumental a growing
interest in agriculture studies by American Indians and will be
the lead cooperator throughout the entire study.  Dr. Jadeja
will oversee a marketing design including taste testing and
packaging of the project.

Project objectives from proposal:


With the help of Jadeja and Robert M. Kerr Food & Ag
Products Center at Oklahoma State University, an economical
feasibility analysis of the newly developed products will be
conducted. Briefly, a detailed market analysis will be conducted
to understand the demand, competition, consumer preferences, and
pricing structure prevalent in the market for blue corn
based products. Subsequently, a comprehensive cost analysis will
be undertaken, considering every expense incurred during the
production, processing, packaging, labor, overheads, and
logistics. The revenue model then will be meticulously drafted,

incorporating the pricing strategy, sales projections, and
revenue streams, balanced against the cost structures to
ascertain the profit margins. In addition, potential risks,
including market fluctuations, operational disruptions, and
supply chain inconsistencies will be identified and
evaluated for their probable impact on the economic stability of
the production. The resultant feasibility report, coupled
with sensitivity and scenario analysis, will serve as
instrumental tool in gauging the economic viability and
prospective success of intruding Pawnee blue corn products
into the market.


All ingredients will be sourced from the Pawnee Citizens and
local grocery stores. Our experiments will be focused on
development of blue corn chips, corn meal and corn bread. 
We will investigate the recipes using Box-Behnken experimental
design in response surface methodology. The resulting 21
samples will be subjected to sensory analysis using
a trained panel. A 9 point hedonic scale sensory proforma
will be utilized to collect the data.

The findings of the sensory analysis will be compared with the
RSM theoretical responses and to further optimize the
identified recipes.

Once the optimization has been completed, we will focus on
training PSPS volunteer and Pawnee citizens to produce such
products at their homes. Jadeja will provide training
on safe food handling, good manufacturing practices, cottage
food law in Oklahoma (Oklahoma cottage food law allow
citizens to produce non-meat containing products at home without
licensing from the health department).

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.