Enhancing Enterprise Diversification Assessment for Native American Farmers to Enhance Economic Sustainability

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $67,650.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G138-20-W7504
Grant Recipients: Utah State University; University of Arizona
Region: Western
State: Utah
Principal Investigator:
Ruby Ward
Utah State University
Trent Teegerstrom
University of Arizona

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, new enterprise development

    Proposal abstract:

    It is difficult in many circumstances for farmers and ranchers to have economically viable operations.  This is even truer in Indian Country where there are more restrictions and regulations (Ward, Teegerstrom and Hiller, 2013; Emm and Singletary, 2009).  Native American and Alaskan Natives have the highest poverty rate (27%) of any race or ethnicity (Macartney, Bishaw and Fontenot, 2013).

    In 2014 a needs assessment, part of a WSARE project, of Federally Recognized Tribal Extension (FRTEP) agents and Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) members rated financial management, business management and evaluating new ideas for value-added enterprises very high.  At that time a current WSARE project created Financial Management and Business Management curriculum that continues to be used in Indian Country.  However, the enterprise assessment and tools to analyze new ideas was beyond the scope of the project, but will be addressed in this new project. 

    Professional development projects are effective for Native American producers because they often do not have a local resource like Small Business Development Centers and others.  Farmers and ranchers in Indian Country have more difficulty with financing and regulations and less access to trained agriculture professionals to help them. So providing additional training to those that are already working in Indian Country is an effective method of improving Native American farmers and ranchers access to these services.

    This project will provide training on enterprise assessment to Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) agents, the Intertribal Agriculture Council Technical Assistance Specialists (IAC-TAS) and non-profit organizations working in Indian Country.  These groups are located on reservations and work with members of various Native American Tribes. With more advanced training in enterprise analysis they can serve as good source to work one-on-one with Tribal members assessing new ideas for enhanced economic viability.   

    Project objectives from proposal:

    There are 4 objectives for this project.  (1) Adapt and develop curriculum and tools that are appropriate and effective for Native American producers to increase capacity to analyze agriculture enterprises in year 1.  (2) Provide training for FRTEP agents (20 participants) and IAC-TAS (10 participants) at their meetings in years 1 and 2, and one on-line training in year 2 (20 participants).  (3) Do needs assessment with participants in year 1 and get feedback in years 1 and 2 on materials, and (4) Have participants work with Native American farmers/ranchers one-on-one to conduct enterprise analysis and provide feedback.  Below is a list of tasks to be completed each year.  The program director and other members of the project team will be responsible for keeping the program on its timetable.

     Year 1 tasks:

    • Survey existing materials and construct curriculum outline
    • Conduct needs assessment
    • Interview individual farmers and ranchers as needed to create case studies
    • Create 2 enterprise budgets and case studies
    • Create booklets with examples from case studies
    • Distribute booklets to participants
    • Develop all program evaluations
    • Schedule training with FRTEP and IAC
    • Deliver training to FRTEP agents and IAC-TAS
    • Gather evaluations during training
    • Get feedback 3-6 months after training
    • Complete reports

    Year 2 tasks:

    • Schedule IAC, FRTEP and online training
    • Do follow-up evaluation of IAC-TAS and FRTEP
    • Use feedback to modify case studies and booklets
    • Deliver FRTEP, IAC, and online training
    • Gather evaluations during training
    • Post materials on USU Extension website
    • Complete reports

    Year 3 tasks:

    • Continue analyzing evaluation results
    • Do final evaluation survey including information on how many Native American farmers or ranchers they worked with
    • Finalize evaluation
    • Complete final reports
    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.