Wheatfields Ag Project among Navajo community-oriented projects
Posted On: April 2, 2018
Budget and Finance Committee members received updates on projects funded by the Navajo Nation Council in 2016. The $150 million Permanent Trust Fund Income Five-Year Expenditure Plan enables economic development projects, agricultural development projects, and water infrastructure development.
The Tsaile Wheatfields Blackrock Dineh Water Users Association’s Wheatsfield Ag Project is progressing and revitalizing farmlands in the local communities with the assistance of funding.
According to the Navajo Post, the association stated that, “since January, the group has partnered with Diné College Land Grant staff to conduct seven workshops for 35 farmers and ranchers on subjects related to planting, rangeland management, farm financing, and other topics. They are currently seeking more farmers to participate in upcoming workshops. To date, the project has created a total of six jobs.
BFC member Council Delegate Leonard Tsosie (Baca/Prewitt, Casamero Lake, Counselor, Littlewater, Ojo Encino, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Whitehorse Lake) encouraged the group to expand their efforts by creating farmers markets in local communities to draw customers so that farmers may earn revenue from their hard work while providing healthy food for communities.
Officials with the group said that the community has 127 individuals that are permitted to farm on existing fields, however, only 15-percent of the fields are farmed because the majority of permit holders are elderly people who do not have farming equipment or the manpower to farm. They added that many of the permits are in probate partially due to the reluctance of current holders to pass them on to young individuals who may be more capable of farming.
Despite the challenges, Tsaile Wheatfields Blackrock Dineh Water Users Association said they are looking to increase the use of the lands for farming to as much as 58-percent by next year, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing the land and creating more jobs and revenue.”