Navajo Beef Program: Farrel, along with a FRTEP colleague – Gerald Moore, recruit, educate and certify producers for this program. Over 70 producers are certified annually as a result of training and education on BQA guidelines, record keeping, marketing and range management. Certifications continue to increase as there is now opportunity for high school students to achieve certification through their FFA programs. Because students’ families own cattle, a goal is for them to teach parents how to improve beef quality, importance of vaccination, herd genetics, and other best practices.
Many Navajo elders are not able to speak or understand English, so many presentations are delivered in Navajo. Ferrel is a fluid speaker of Navajo and is able to translate cutting edge information from the university to a grass roots level. He encourages traditional practices in all areas of his programming and helps to promote traditional crops such as blue corn, Indian corn and squash. Healthy by products such as blue corn meal and ground up kneel down bread (corn ground and baked under the earth) are instrumental for fighting the effects of diabetes. The Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Prevention Program works in partnership with FRTEP to build awareness and improve the health of community members.
FRTEP is recognized as a valuable resource providing education and knowledge to producers.
Looking to the future – one of Ferrel’s primary goals is to increase the number of producers certified under the Navajo Beef program that can benefit the Navajo people. He has partnered with Charo sheep producers to explore creating a similar brand that would highlight wool quality and lean meat. Drip irrigation is a technology that he would like to introduce to family gardens; as well as expanding resources for Navajo bee keepers to be able to direct sell honey.
The scope and direction of the Western Navajo Agency FRTEP reflect what producers and community members want. Extension on the reservation makes resources, training and education available; and every dollar is leveraged to benefit tribal producers and tribal members.