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Wind River Extension

FRTEP - 1862

The
Wind River Indian Reservation has many opportunities to maintain and
build a stronger agricultural industry. In the past, the communication
system has been ineffective, thus disallowing producers to take
advantage of the educational, technical and financial resources
available. Along with the recent establishment of the Agriculture and
Natural Resources department within the University of Wyoming
Cooperative Extension Service (UW-CES) on the reservation, an
informational resource center has also been organized.

In
the summer of 2005, UW-CES organized and facilitated the Eastern
Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Agriculture Summit. The purpose of the
summit was to get a needs analysis from producers on the reservation
and to find how UWCES could contribute and assist reservation
agriculture. During the two-day event, the Wind River Agriculture
Producers Association (WRAPA) group was formed, and a steering
committee was chosen. The steering committee members were selected to
be the voice of the group as a whole. This group has the opportunity to
take issues to the tribal council or relevant regulating agencies. They
will endeavor to resolve issues on behalf of the producer’s group as a
whole.

Post-summit,
an Area Educator was hired with focus on Agriculture and Natural
resources. The Area Educator’s main goal is to re-establish connection
with the ag community through personal contact, WRAPA meetings, and
tribal events around the reservation. The Educator has also made
contacts with other area agencies and collaborated to help get the
information distributed to individual producers. 

The
UW-CES Wind River educator has also begun to revitalize youth
programming on the Wind River Reservation through the development of
4-H clubs.  A variety of promotional activities such as
health fairs, carnivals, movie nights, and community service activities
have been held to generate interest in 4-H.  In addition, “After School 4-H” programs have been developed at two Reservation schools.  Activities
conducted thus far have encompassed many of the main 4-H project areas
including science and technology, fabrics and fashion, cooking,
agriculture, and even career development.

Working
with UW-CES and agencies in the area, producers have an increased
opportunity to learn about educational, financial, and technical
support. The producers also have opportunities to speak directly to the
educator and discuss possible assistance. In the past, producers had
fewer opportunities to get questions answered because there was no one
to turn to. Now the educator can assist producers in just about every
need a rancher or farmer may have. For example, the educator can now
assist a producer with weed control by offering suggests on herbicide
applications, timing, and re-spraying.

On
the Wind River Indian Reservation, there is a sense of optimism about
having a functional Cooperative Extension Service office once again.
Agencies and several producers who manage nearly two million acres all
collaborate to sustain the rich resources in the area. Communication
between agencies and producers is increasing, and it is hoped that the
communication issue will be completely resolved in the near future.  Participation
of youth in 4-H programming is also increasing, thereby providing youth
an opportunity to further develop life skills and increase their
understanding of what it means to be good, productive citizens.

Contact Information

Justina Russell

State Project Director and Extension Educator
Email: 
jtoth1@uwyo.edu
Phone: 
(307) 332-2135
Fax: 
(307) 332-2153
Address: 

506 Ethete Road P.O. Box 8622
Blue Sky Hall
Wind River Reservation
University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension
Ethete, WY 82520