Building Internal and Community Capacity for the Blackfeet Nation Through Agriculture

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2020: $73,795.00
Projected End Date: 10/01/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G363-21-W7903
Grant Recipient: Blackfeet Tribe: Agriculture Resource Management Plan
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Will Seeley
Blackfeet Tribe: Agriculture Resource Management Plan


  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: meat


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, meat processing facilities, rangeland/pasture management
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, value added
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: food hubs, local and regional food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    The “Building Community Capacity for the Blackfeet Nation” project aims to build capacity of Blackfeet Agriculture Resource Management Plan (ARMP) staff, local producers, local businesses, and community members by engaging in outreach and education through classroom and field courses, attendance of professional conferences, and supporting sustainable agricultural practices through the creation of a hands on Coach to be located in the Blackfeet Nation, delivering trainings and establishing a repository of resources for individuals involved in agriculture. These trainings are aligned with the goals outlined by a cross section of Blackfeet community members in the ARMP, which intends to improve economic conditions and political sovereignty of the Tribe by building the agricultural industry within the Blackfeet Nation and implementing holistic, food sovereignty projects that connect agriculture with community health. By building capacity within the community, the Tribe can ensure the implementation of the ARMP through greater involvement of key community stakeholders, overseen by dedicated professionals who are attuned to realities within the Nation, cultural, political, climatic, or otherwise. Anticipated outcomes include outreach 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.


    The goal of this proposal is to implement the goals and objectives of the ARMP through the creation of a 1/2 FTE in partnership with AERO to organize community outreach and education efforts through workshops, tours, and pilot projects. These on the ground endeavors will create tangible programs and establish resource repositories to inform the implementation of projects such as regenerative grazing, watershed management, policy development, and community health. The Community Outreach Coordinator will facilitate outreach programs, coordinate with the Blackfeet Community College and related coursework, engage with students, work directly with landowners, and identify opportunities for the development of pilot projects.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1: Create a Community Outreach Coach to disseminate information, organize workshops, events, and pilot projects, and create a repository of resources and organize professional development opportunities for producers, community college students, and residents of the Blackfeet Nation.

    Objective 2: Utilize relationships with community members to implement the conservation planning, organizational development, and community engagement goals and objects of the ARMP by increasing community education, awareness, and capacity through professional development opportunities.

    Objective 3: Establish reciprocal partnerships to bolster existing resources and address limitations and gaps.

    Objective 4: Increase producer and community knowledge of sustainable agriculture and food systems, increase access to educational resources and tools, and provide opportunities to build local capacity to improve the ecology, economics and health of the Blackfeet Nation.

    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.