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					Makoce ki okiyapi ki hena owicakiyapi
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Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) priority continues to focus on increasing the diversity of its workforce through the hiring of students from various colleges and universities. SD NRCS makes concerted outreach and recruitment efforts to high school and college students to increase the number of students studying in agriculture and Agency-related disciplines, and to offer employment opportunities. In Fiscal Year 2007, the SD NRCS put together a recruitment poster with translations in Lakota. The translations were kindly made by Mr. Ben Black Bear of Rosebud. This poster was displayed at the 2007 Rapid City and Pierre Women in Science Conferences - reaching around 500 young women grades 7-12, with many conference attendees from the reservation schools in western and central SD.

Lakota for “Helping People Help The Land”
Fiscal Year 2007
Listed below are some of the outreach efforts South Dakota NRCS conducted in 2007:

Tribal Advisory Committee

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he Tribal Advisory Committee (a sub-committee to the USDA State Technical Committee) was formed in 2003 and provides technical assistance to the NRCS State Conservationist in identifying and addressing conservation issues and tribal needs on Tribal lands. The Tribal Advisory Committee was instrumental in the development of an EQIP American Indian Earmark Local Evaluation Worksheet in FY 2004 and continues to annually review the effectiveness of the worksheet. The Tribal Advisory Committee met three times in FY 2007 (November 2006, May 2007 & August 2007).

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ower Brule Sioux Tribe harvests sweetgrass, a project begun in 2001 with a planting of 10 plugs from the NRCS Plant Materials Center, with 10 or more additional plugs received every year through 2007. Enough sweetgrass for about 150 braids was harvested in 2007. These braids are given to tribal elders, tribal government officials and other tribal members for their traditional/religious use and for ceremonies/meetings/prayers. Others are given as gifts and a limited number are sold to tourists.

Lower Brule Tribal Member Janet Hardin with sweetgrass braids she braided in 2007

TRIBAL LIAISON LOCATIONS South Dakota NRCS Tribal Liaisons (began 1997) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5/6. 7. 8. Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation (David L. Pesicka) Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Reservation (Michael J. Schmidt) Rosebud Sioux Reservation (Mary A. Scott) Lake Traverse Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe (Thomas Jones) Lower Brule Sioux Reservation/Crow Creek Sioux Reservation (Kari Jo Hall) Standing Rock Sioux Reservation (Dwight Teske, Fort Yates, ND) State Tribal Liaison (Dana R. Vaillancourt)

• SD NRCS continues to employ 5 Tribal Liaisons who provide full-time technical assistance to 6 tribes in South Dakota; another Tribal Liaison who is a ND NRCS employee who provides full-time technical assistance to one tribe whose reservation lies in both North and South Dakota; a state outreach coordinator who assists with all facets of program outreach; and a State Tribal Liaison who assists in State-wide tribal outreach coordination and information dissemination. • NRCS program outreach to Limited Resource and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. • SD NRCS employed two Native American high school students under the Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP). • Job recruitment information sent to Tribal Colleges in the region. • The SD NRCS put together a recruitment poster with translations in Lakota. • NRCS career presentation, Dupree Schools K-12. • NRCS conservation outreach at Dupree kindergarten class. • NRCS provided career information at the Pine Ridge High School Career Day. • NRCS delivered soils instruction training for a Standing Rock High School Environmental Science class. • Rangeland Days in Eagle Butte (CRST). Partnering with the Ziebach and Dewey CD, The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, SDSU and NRCS participating. • Women in Sciences Conference (Aberdeen, Rapid City, Pierre & Sioux Falls, SD). NRCS booth provided career and conservation program information. • Women in Blue Jeans Conference, Mitchell, SD. NRCS booth provided career and conservation program information. • Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) councils and staff provide technical assistance for community development and resource issues to people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe and Rosebud Sioux Tribe. • North Central RC&D and NRCS working with Lower Brule and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes on a Carbon Sequestration/Tribal Capacity Project. • North Central RC&D assisted with the organization of the Dakota Plains Weed Management Area which includes both Lower Brule and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes. • Bad Lands RC&D assisted in a Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) grant for a Grass Lands Invasive Species project for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’s White River Watershed area; assisted the Wounded Knee Tiospaye’/Riders project; and the Oyate Trail project. • RC&D tour on Standing Rock Reservation by the National RC&D President for viewing the native plant plot at Fort Yates. • NRCS Brookings Area Office staff prepared a land ownership map for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe to assist in land management decisions and discussed NRCS programs. • Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe/NRCS Draft Internet Guidance on Putting Tribal Trust Land into WRP. • Participated in Drought Disaster Impact & Solution Meetings put on by Standing Rock Tribal Conservation District. • Oglala Sioux Tribe Agricultural Technical Committee’s Farm and Ranch Day. NRCS staff presented information on conservation programs. • Standing Rock Tribal Conservation District/NRCS Meeting. Standing Rock Tribal Conservation District personnel, the Tribal Chairman, NRCS SD & ND State Conservationists and NRCS local staff, met to discuss conservation issues and a potential contribution agreement. • NRCS Tribal liaison assisted the Sisseton-Wahpeton Community College in the development of an implementation plan for an outdoor learning center on campus. • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Conservation District approved a contribution agreement with South and North Dakota NRCS. • NRCS staff was present at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes land committee meeting for the purpose of coordinating efforts through various programs that work together regarding land and conservation issues. • NRCS assisted the Standing Rock High School Environmental Science class with the hand planting of 130 Lodge Pole Pines seedlings at Fort Yates. • NRCS staff gave a demonstration of the Mobile Office Pilot Project during the Agricultural Tour at Eagle Butte. • NRCS Global Positioning System (GPS) specialist provided GPS training to Standing Rock Tribal employees and Sitting Bull College students. • 2006 “Caring for Mother Earth” Agricultural Symposium, INCA/IAC (Las Vegas). State Conservationist and State Tribal Liaison participated. • Special Emphasis Program Manager (SEPM) attended NRCS American Indian/Alaska Native Employee Association national meeting (Corpus Christi, Texas). • 8th Annual Unity in 2007 (Helping Hands) Tribal Agriculture Meeting. Sponsored by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). • Employee development includes cultural awareness training such as in-state NRCS “Harmony Workshop” (Working Effectively with American Indians) in Rockerville, SD. • The NRCS Cultural Resource Specialist/State Tribal Liaison met on-site with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and cultural consultant to determine if two planned projects had the potential to affect sacred areas. • SD409.0 - General - Amendment SD9. SD NRCS guidance prepared on which entity may best meet the definition of a Conservation District when signing conservation plans in Indian Country. • A Native American family from Rosebud Sioux Reservation selected as one of South Dakota’s featured families for NRCS’s National campaign, “Conservation – Our Purpose. Our Passion.”

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n Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) application was developed and approved for funding on land within a Rosebud Tribal range unit. The major resource concern was an inadequate stock water supply. Another resource concern was plant condition for productivity, health and vigor. The existing water sources included a few windmills to service five pastures. The plan included the installation of five wells (1 electric, 1 windmill and 1 solar panel system that serviced 3 of the wells); five watering facilities (30 foot steel rim, bottomless tanks); 5,246 linear feet of fence and 296.3 Rod Row-Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment with 1,723 linear feet of fence. All of these conservation practices were installed within two years. The range unit now consists of 1,841 acres of improved rangeland. This project was featured in the NRCS national campaign, “Conservation - Our Purpose. Our Passion”.

SD NRCS EQIP EARMARK FUNDS TO AMERICAN INDIAN CUSTOMERS & OTHERS WITHIN RESERVATION BOUNDARIES FY 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Allocated (Total) Actual $439,000 (12.5%) $512,129 $450,000 (13.2%) $453,813 $460,000 (13%) $464,162 $410,000 (10.8) $499,425 $1,207,123 (15.1) $1,476,368 $1,702,890 (17%)* $1,639,593 $2,510,033 (17%)* $4,639,773+ $2,659,162 (17%)* $2,581,936 (All eligible Earmark applications funded) $2,839,872 (17%)* $2,856,121 (All eligible Earmark applications funded) $2,790,822 (17%)* $3,852,874+ TOTAL: $18,976,194

* The Tribal Advisory Committee recommended the earmark to include all land and operators within reservation boundaries in 2003-2007 (17%). +In 2004 and 2007 additional EQIP funds beyond the Earmark were allocated to projects in target locations. he 8th Annual Unity in 2007 (Helping Hands) Tribal Agriculture Meeting was sponsored by the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The meeting offered an opportunity for interested Tribal agricultural partners to hear, discuss, and share their ideas, concerns, and provide feedback to South Dakota (SD) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) representatives and others. Decision-makers from the South Dakota USDA’s FSA, NRCS, Rural Development, and NASS were present to discuss current and potential future programs, successful partnerships, and future opportunities for agricultural issues in SD.

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Conservation…Our Purpose. Our Passion. The purpose and passion for conservation is shared among many. It is shared between NRCS employees and partners who help people help the land. And it is shared by the landowners with whom we work. Our passion is manifested through the benefits derived from stewardship of private and Tribal lands—benefits we all enjoy, such as cleaner water and air, improved soils and abundant wildlife habitat.

South Dakota
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


				
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