On April 27, I was honored to accompany President Shelley of the Navajo Nation for the National Veterinary Stockpile (NVS) exercise held in Window Rock. The NVS exercise provides countermeasures – supplies, equipment, medicine, vaccines and response support services – that states and Tribes need to respond to foreign animal disease outbreaks.
This exercise with the Navajo Nation marks the first Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)-sponsored full-scale exercise on Tribal lands. I want to acknowledge the enthusiasm and commitment of Tribal personnel to gain experience and identify gaps, shortfalls, limitations that could impair the Navajo Nation’s ability to receive, store and distribute NVS countermeasures in a real emergency.
During my visit, I also discussed the success of the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI), which includes over 89,000 acres of cropland. NAPI is a major producer of alfalfa, potatoes, corn, pinto beans and numerous other crops. I remember working with NAPI to promote the “Navajo Pride” label and to develop market share in domestic and international markets.
In closing I want to say that my APHIS staff and I thoroughly enjoyed our Navajo Tacos – complete with fry bread, pinto beans, ground beef and green chiles!