Community Based Partners
Community-based Partners that will be strengthened by Risk Management activities include:
- The Rug Auction Committee, six Navajo weavers who have come together to organize, conduct, and promote their own auctions with high-quality, 100 percent wool weavings and fiber arts from Navajo producers and artists. They seek to employ risk management techniques to focus on value-added products, such as Navajo-raised wool, hand processed and vegetal dyed fibers, and new products such as felted saddle blankets and wearable art. WESSTCorp will work with the group to improve financial, organizational, and business skills.
- The four Dibe Nitsaa Spin-Off groups are organized by community volunteers to share fiber arts techniques and develop new products. These groups make tools such as drum carders and spinning wheels available to local fiber producers and disseminate Risk Management information on sheep herding, wool quality, and product development. They are developing prototypes for value-added products that have application in niche marketing.
- Small flock owners who are working with the Dine College Land Grant Program to form a wool pool so they can obtain a better price on their fleeces. At each ranch, an average of 30 head will be shorn. Producers will clean, sort, and bag their wool for the internal and external market. In a managed wool pool, Navajo producers can increase sales from ten cents per pound to 60 or even 75 cents per pound. Southwest Marketing Network will assist with developing a structure for the wool pool marketing cooperative. RMA technical information will assist producers with proper preparation and herd health for improved wool.
- Teec Nos Pos Chapter has requested assistance through the RMA project with developing a model wool processing facility that is scaled to local needs and interests, uses renewable energy, conserves water, and incorporates environmentally-sound technology. The facility will be marketed to other chapters in the region, one of the most isolated in the Navajo Nation. WESSTCorp will work with Teec Nos Pos to provide training for establishing a management and business structure. SWNM will advise on the resource-efficient technical processes. TNP will survey residents in their region to obtain updated information on number of sheep and pounds of wool grown, as well as local interests in and needs for wool processing. (Sample survey is attached.) Risk Management strategies will be documented so that the project can be an effective model for other Navajo communities.
- The Navajo section of the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association seeks to document the breed characteristics from its indigenous perspective. The Western approach to breeds and registration" is challenging to many traditional livestock producers. A bilingual DVD will illustrate the qualities ofNavajo-Churro sheep, and present a history of the breed. Risk anagement training will inform Navajo producers' breeding and marketing choices.