Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Posts tagged: OTR

Former Cop is a Smooth Negotiator

Bob Goodwin, a former California Highway Patrol officer, now works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Tribal relations advisor. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

Bob Goodwin, a former California Highway Patrol officer, now works for the U.S. Forest Service as a Tribal relations advisor. (U.S. Forest Service photo)

During his 21 years as a California Highway Patrol officer, Bob Goodwin eased tensions during traffic accidents, issued verbal warnings and made arrests—all in a calm and cool way.

Now, as Tribal relations advisor for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, Goodwin is again relying on those valuable people and negotiating skills to build relations between Tribal entities and the federal government. Goodwin’s easy-going demeanor, “can do” attitude, and ability to resolve challenging issues make him perfect for the job. Read more »

Native American FFA Members Discuss the Future of Agriculture with USDA Officials

Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right). USDA photo:  Bob Nichols.

Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse (center) with Native American FFA Students: Hannah Nichols (left), Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) (right). USDA photo: Bob Nichols.

The future of America is entirely about its youth. According to figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sixty percent of the farmers in this country are 55 years old or older. Will the next generation take over for their parents and accept a rural lifestyle?  What options are available for promising students, many of them minorities, living in economically challenged rural areas?

Last week, USDA welcomed two Native American members of the National FFA organization to the Agriculture Department for meetings with Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse, Arthur “Butch” Blazer, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, and representatives of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations (OTR), including Director Leslie Wheelock.  FFA members Hannah Nichols (Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana) of Elton, La. and Jessica Wahnee (Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Okla.) of Morris, Okla. were in the capital for the FFA Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) and were accompanied by Kent Schescke, director of government and non-profit relations for the National FFA. Read more »

StrikeForce in Action with Nevada’s Native American Tribes

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Administrator Della John, and USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Leslie Wheelock (right) at a hoop house operated by the Tribe. USDA photo.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Administrator Della John, and USDA Office of Tribal Relations Director Leslie Wheelock (right) at a hoop house operated by the Tribe. USDA photo.

Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the National Congress of American Indian’s (NCAI) mid-year meeting in Reno, Nevada.   The NCAI meeting was a warm and familiar place for me, as I recently left a position as NCAI’s Director of Economic Development to assume my current position as Director of USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations.

While I was in Nevada, I wanted to be certain to see Secretary Vilsack’s StrikeForce Initiative in action, as I was aware that Nevada’s USDA leaders had selected Nevada’s Indian reservations for their StrikeForce focus.  What a day I had on June 26!  It was tremendous to experience the mutual vigor among tribal leaders, USDA leaders, and their respective teams. Read more »

Colorado StrikeForce Meeting Draws a Crowd

May 2nd dawned a majestic spring day in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado as rural and tribal stakeholders from the Four Corners region descended upon the San Juan National Forest Headquarters to learn more about USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Participants traveled from New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and the east coast to discuss strategies to help USDA deliver its programs more successfully in persistently poor rural areas. Read more »

USDA Tribal Collaboration Meetings Continue in Southeast Alaska

Left to Right:  Tim Gillen (Wrangell Cooperative Association); Delores Churchill (Ketchikan Indian Community); Frank Demmert, Jr. (Klawock Cooperative Association) and Rob Sanderson (Ketchikan Indian Community)

Left to Right: Tim Gillen (Wrangell Cooperative Association); Delores Churchill (Ketchikan Indian Community); Frank Demmert, Jr. (Klawock Cooperative Association) and Rob Sanderson (Ketchikan Indian Community)

The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the country, and constitutes 85 percent of the land mass in Southeast Alaska.  No doubt, land management issues in Southeast were a main topic of discussion at the Tribal Collaboration Meeting held in Ketchikan on May 4th. Read more »

Intertribal Agriculture Council Executive Director Praises Appointment of Members to the USDA Council for Native American Farming and Ranching

I was pleased to receive this statement in support of Secretary Vilsack’s appointment of members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) from Ross Racine Executive Director  of the Intertribal Agriculture Council.

“The addition of CNAFR to the USDA available tools should provide much needed Native American input to the Department policies, rules and program delivery.  The CNAFR represents a diverse geographical group of individuals which in turn represents the diversity of Native American agriculture and natural resources.  In addition, I foresee the CNAFR providing an additional sounding board for Tribes and individual Indian producers as barriers are identified and are in need of address to facilitate Native American participation in the vast array of USDA programs and services.  CNAFR increases the Native American focus on Indian agriculture and increases the number of individuals pursuing positive change thus increasing Indian participation in USDA programs. CNAFR is another step USDA is taking to insure Native Americans have full opportunity to utilized programs and services to improve the quality of life on our Reservations.” Read more »