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Conference Name Women involved in American Indian Agriculture

Staci Emm


American Indian Women Farmers and Ranchers are designated under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)as socially disadvantaged due to the impacts of historical federal Indian policies, significant disparities in education and income levels, and issues that accompany geographic isolation and Indian land tenure designations. The agricultural industries in the 6-state targeted region (Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota) are important to the economic sustainability of rural communities on reservations. Increasingly, there are record numbers of women involved in American Indian agriculture. According to the U.S. Census of Agriculture (2007), approximately 8,515,189 acres of land in farms are operated by American Indian farmers and ranchers in the targeted 6-state region. USDA programs are designed to sustain and grow rural reservations. The 2010 Farm Bill provisions offer considerable opportunities for American Indian tribes and individual farmers and ranchers to participate in USDA assistance programs. On most American Indian reservations, however, these programs are underutilized. This project focused on the following goals: 1) Created a record utilizing secondary data collection to identify which American Indian farmers and ranchers are utilizing the different programs within USDA compared to the number of American Indian farmers and ranchers in the six-state area; 2) Targeted USDA professionals who work on reservation lands and Indian farmers and ranchers living on reservations in the project area to identify barriers and obstacles; and 3) Provided new and innovative ways to more effectively connect the target audience to USDA programs and services.