American Indian Farmer and Rancher Outreach and Assistance Improvement Project Women involved in American Indian Agriculture Staci Emm, Extension Educator Loretta Singletary, Extension Educator/Area Director Steve Lewis, Extension Educator Fara Brummer, Washington/Oregon Research Consultant Vicki Hebb, South Dakota/North Dakota Research Consultant Kathy Frazier, Nevada/Idaho Research Assistant This project was made possible through funding from the USDA, Office of Advocacy and Outreach 2501 program and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. United States Department of Agriculture Office of Advocacy and Outreach This United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Advocacy and Outreach American Indian Farmer and Rancher Outreach and Assistance Improvement Project targets American Indian farmers and ranchers in a six state area. Nevada Idaho Washington Oregon South Dakota North Dakota This aggressive community-based research addresses why USDA programs are underutilized in a six-state area of the Western United States. Secondary data collection identifies 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. Challenges have been identified that Indian producers face on reservations in sustaining agricultural enterprises and utilizing USDA programs, specifically Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Rural Development. State (alphabetically listed) Farms with American Indian Operators a American Indian Land in Farms a (acres) Idaho 351 553,531 Nevada 488 1,083,341 North Dakota 503 565,273 Oregon 847 601,187 South Dakota 1,150 3,750,015 Washington 912 2,518,026 Total 4,251 9,071,373 a 2007 Census of Agriculture: Table 51 Note: Need additional research in identifying American Indian women in agriculture. Understanding Agriculture in Oregon and Washington The Cascade Mountains distinctly divide the western and eastern sides of both Oregon and Washington. Precipitation varies over this area from 6 inches on the eastern desert dominated side, to 250 inches within the rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington (United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2011). Current agricultural uses of these lands also vary distinctly based on precipitation and soil types. For example, tribes on the east side produce more livestock and have larger farming operations due to their larger land bases and rangeland sites, while tribes on the west side are developing specialty markets for aquaculture products such as geoduct clams, which supply a demanding market in Japan. There are nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon, and 29 in Washington. The two largest reservations in Oregon are the Umatilla and the Warm Springs. The two largest reservations in Washington are Umatilla and Colville. Most of the tribal lands on these reservations are commercially farmed by non-Indians, either through a farm enterprise business model, or through individual leases Smaller tribes have limited agriculture due to smaller acreage base. However, their forms of agriculture tend to focus on niche or specialty markets such as the west side aquaculture production of geoduct clams, mussels, and oysters. Timber extraction also appears to be very common amongst all the Northwest Tribes, regardless of size. Current USDA Programs Used Larger farming operations are more aware of USDA Services that focus on commodity based crops. This involves Farm Service Agency. Across the board, tribes appear to be aware of NRCS as an outreach of USDA. Some tribes such as the Colville and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have NRCS and FSA personnel housed in Tribal Natural Resource offices, increasing the outreach effort of related programs. Smaller tribes, or tribes without a more recent traditional farming effort are not yet fully connected with the extent of services that USDA might provide in terms of agricultural development. Some tribes appear to be aware of conservation programs administered by NRCS such as CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program), EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program), and WRP (Wetland Reserve Program) although these programs are not directly connected with agriculture. Cultural Implication of Participating in USDA Programs The common relevant theme for tribal participation in USDA programs appears to be based on relationship between the tribal entity and the USDA office In general, there appears to be a need for better understanding of the full array of USDA services that may be applied in Indian country. The Tribal peoples of Oregon and Washington vary in their use of natural resources ,which includes agricultural production. Agricultural use depends on participation and land base which is influenced by location. Use of USDA programs also varies depending on location and existing relationships with USDA offices and personnel in the area. Understand agriculture in Idaho and Nevada The Native American people of the Great Basin inhabit a cultural region between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, in what is now Nevada, and parts of Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. There are 26 tribes in the state of Nevada and 4 in Idaho. The Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Reservation straddles the NevadaIdaho border and is counted as a Nevada tribe in this project. The reservations vary in size from 20 acres to 500,000+ acres. The major agricultural products of the Nevada tribes are alfalfa and cattle, while the Idaho tribes produce wheat, potatoes, and various other specialty crops. The majority of Native farmers and ranchers do not farm or ranch on a fulltime basis as they also have full-time employment. Current USDA Programs Used USDA programs currently utilized by the Great Basin tribes include Farm Service Agency (FSA), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP); Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (EQIP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). The majority of the Great Basin tribes are accessing the nonagricultural Rural and Economic Development programs such as Telecommunication Loans and Grants for installation of community internet access and Housing and Community Assistance programs. Unfortunately, a majority of the tribal members do not have the necessary information on USDA programs and therefore do not take full advantage of the numerous loans and grants that are available. Cultural Implication of Participating in USDA programs The common theme among Native farmers and ranchers is they would like to see USDA personnel develop a personal relationship with their farming/ranching operation by making on-site visits and/or helping with the branding of calves, etc. Outreach seems to be lacking in the more remote Indian reservations due to the great travel distance to USDA offices. Information in these areas is usually passed on by word of mouth and is not always accurate. Improved communication, accessibility, equality, and technical assistance are desired by Native American farmers and ranchers in order to increase participation in USDA programs. Change of requirement/regulations for participation in USDA programs was also of major concern as Native farmers and ranchers felt it was to their detriment that non-natives leasing reservation lands be allowed to benefit from USDA programs ear-marked for Indian reservations. Understand agriculture in North Dakota and South Dakota The tribes occupying the Northern Great Plains region for evaluation purposes of this study occupy a region that includes the modern day states of South Dakota and North Dakota. The one common theme between these tribes that surfaced was livestock production, the rancher lifestyle and the important cultural traditions that remain today. The topography of South Dakota and North Dakota are similar with hills, such as the Black Hills of South Dakota on the Western portion of the state and flatter, more suited to farm ground in the Easter portion of the states. There are nine federally recognized tribes in South Dakota, and five in North Dakota with two (Standing Rock Sioux and Sisseton Wahpeton) tribal reservations straddling the South Dakota/North Dakota border The majority of agriculture involves livestock production which includes cattle, horses, hay, cereal grains, and oilseeds. Most of the tribal lands on these reservations are commercially farmed by a combination of Indians and non-Indians, either through a farm enterprise business model, or through individual leases Current USDA Programs Used It appears that American Indian producers with larger farming/ranching operations are more aware of USDA Services. Across the board, producers appear to be aware of NRCS as an outreach of USDA, FSA as the commodity and livestock loan program. Some American Indian producers appear to be aware of conservation programs administered by NRCS such as CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program), EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program), and WRP (Wetland Reserve Program) although these programs are not directly connected with agriculture Cultural Implication of Participating in USDA Programs The common relevant theme for participation in USDA programs appears to be based on relationships between the tribal entity/individual producer and the USDA office, and whether there is a representative for the Indian producer to bridge the gap of program understanding (such as a tribal liaison). In some areas, USDA offices have made substantial effort in the past to connect American Indians to programs. In general, there appears to be a need for better understanding of the full array of USDA services that may be applied in Indian country. The Great Plains Tribes have a huge land base on which they primarily raise livestock such as cattle and buffalo with a few sheep, goats and pigs. To say these producers rely on USDA and the programs available would be an under-statement with many production years being devastating without the aid and programs of the USDA. An additional barrier these producers encounter are the requirements of record-keeping to participate in USDA programs. It will take significant effort by both USDA personnel as well as the Great Plains Tribal Producers, who historically have an oral tradition of information gathering and recording, to over-come this barrier. Focus Group Research Focus Group Method It is an efficient technique to collect a substantial amount of data in a relatively short period of time. Focus group discussions have a tendency to draw detail from participants they might not think to share in other information gathering approaches. There are several types of questions needed including opening, introductory, transition, key, and summary questions A pilot focus group session was conducted at the First Tribal Land National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 19, 2011with 24 participants Table 1. Focus group session schedule and participation in 2011. Date State Reservation N Women (N) 5/12 Idaho Fort Hall 11 4 5/13 Idaho Duck Valley 8 1 5/26 Nevada Pyramid Lake 10 3 6/2 Washington Colville 8 3 6/6 South Dakota Rosebud 4 1 6/7 South Dakota Cheyenne River 5 2 6/9 Nevada Fallon/Walker River 3 0 6/21 Oregon Warm Springs 11 4 6/21 Oregon Umatilla 5 4 6/22 Washington Yakima 10 4 _________________________________________________________ Total 75 26 Table 2. Frequencies of responses to the 1st focus group question: When you hear the words United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), what comes to mind? 44% 15% 13% 13% 9% 9% Agriculture Negative aspect of USDA Agencies Services/Activities Programs Other Table 3. Frequencies of responses to the 2nd focus group question: What USDA programs have you used or experienced? 68% 7% 7% 5% 5% 4% 4% Agriculture Youth related Community development None Housing Commodities Miscellaneous Table 4. Frequencies of responses to the 3rd focus group question: What problems have you had in using and/or what prevents you from using USDA programs? 23% 22% 16% 10% 9% 7% 6% 4% 3% Time, paperwork, red tape Qualifying Lack of information/outreach Does not meet or not tailored to needs Frustration, bad feelings, distrust USDA employees Internal tribal challenges Lack of USDA presence None, no experience Table 5. Frequencies of responses to the 4th focus group question: What effects have USDA programs had on you or your tribe? 26% 18% 15% 12% 11% 7% 4% 4% 3% Positive – improve environment/natural resources Positive – improve agriculture operations/productivity Negative – larger farms benefit more, discrimination Negative – create more problems than benefits Positive – monetary/credit assistance Positive – community development assistance Positive – improve learning Positive – benefit or target youth Positive – enable land expansion Table 6. Frequencies of responses to the 5th focus group question: What type(s) of USDA assistance do you need to become a more successful agricultural producer? 36% 17% 17% 15% 13% 2% Education, technical assistance Personal assistance, one-on-one Capital for equipment and operation Get youth involved in agriculture Better information, more flexibility Assistance in qualifying Table 7. Frequencies of responses to the 6th focus group question: What can USDA do better to serve you and your tribe? 37% 36% 18% 4% 3% 2% Understand tribal needs and work differently Improve communication/outreach about programs and services Provide personal one-on-one outreach and assistance Staff a local office Increase youth programming Provide materials Table 8. Frequencies of responses to the 7th focus group question: What could you do differently to improve your success with USDA programs? 36% 31% 13% 8% 6% 4% 2% Educate tribal members Educate self Build relationships and improve communications with USDA Educate USDA Conduct youth programs Hire liaison, create office Let tribal voice be heard To a large extent, focus group respondents expressed pessimism in their prospect of using USDA programs. Comments have been 1. 2. 3. To difficult to qualify USDA programs not tailored to American Indian agriculture needs Lack of one-on-one personal assistance by USDA The expectations one perceives from others and the expectations one has of self has been shown to be key determinants of performance. This is a phenomenon known as the Pygmalion effect, and also regarded as a special case of self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-efficacy Where individuals are mentored with low expectation for success, performance is decreased. And when individuals have low self-efficacy, success is less likely. Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in their ability to perform successfully. Could it be that USDA programs are not utilized more successfully because USDA professionals have low expectations of American Indian ability – or American Indians have low expectations for USDA professionals? Or could it be that American Indians themselves have low expectations of their own ability to be successful with USDA programs? If the answer is true to the questions above, there might not be an easy solution. Once expectation opinions are formed, they are difficult to change. When new personnel are put in place with USDA or tribal offices, this is an opportunity to genuinely convey high expectations for success. American Indians can improve the way they think about USDA programs and the impact they can have on agriculture and natural resources. There is room in the 2012 Agriculture Census to explore the number of American Indian Women agriculture producers . There are several tribes that are matriarchal in the United States…do we then assume women producers? Are the number of American Indian women producers increasing and are they accessing USDA programs? What about self-efficacy and women involved in agriculture….