Writer: Kevin Robinson-Avila
ALBUQUERQUE - Defense against agroterrorism, animal diseases, invasive plants and drought will highlight this year's Indian Livestock School May 22-23 at Acoma Pueblo's Sky City hotel.
The school is an annual event that New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona jointly launched in the early 1980s to help tribal producers improve production and increase profits, said Kathy Landers, program director for NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service office in McKinley County. This year, the Arizona-based Southwest Indian Agricultural Association is co-sponsoring the workshop.
"Native Americans are skilled at caring for livestock, but people on the reservations often don't have access to the Internet or other resources to learn about new production methods and technology," Landers said. "Through the workshop, we can offer educational opportunities directly to tribal producers in the Four Corners Area."
The event is open to everyone, but presenters will focus on issues specific to Native Americans, such as efforts by tribal governments to align local animal identification regulations with federal and state laws, Landers said.
"These are sovereign governments, so complying with federal regulations is sometimes more complex for tribal producers," Landers said. "We'll address those kinds of issues at the workshop."
NMSU's Office of Biosecurity will kick off the event with a training session to help tribes defend against natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
"Producers need to be vigilant," Landers said. "They need to watch for any suspicious activity against their livestock."
Navajo Nation veterinarian Scott Bender will talk about tagging all livestock to comply with animal identification laws. Federal veterinarians will also discuss vaccination programs to control diseases such as West Nile.
NMSU specialists will teach participants to assess the nutritional quality of hay, control invasive plants on rangelands, select proper feed for horses and manage herds under drought conditions. Others will offer ideas on direct marketing of Indian products and review the requirements to obtain organic certification.
The workshop costs $20 for both days, or $15 for the first day and $10 for the second. It runs from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 22 and 8:45 a.m. to noon May 23. Participants are encouraged to preregister.
For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate, call Landers at (505)-863-3432. If outside the Gallup area, call toll free at 866-863-3432 or e-mail Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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