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NEWS RELEASE

Veneman Awards Three Grants to Promote Native American Participation in USDA Programs

Release No. 0401.03
Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
Terry Meisenbach (202) 720-2677


November is National American Indian Heritage Month

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2003—Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman marked National American Indian Heritage Month by announcing $440,000 in competitive grants for three organizations under the USDA's Native American Outreach Program.

“The Native American Outreach Program continues our efforts to broaden the reach of USDA,” said Veneman. “The Bush Administration is committed to improving education, employment and economic development and ensuring that USDA services are accessible to American Indians and Alaska natives.”

The program's goal is to develop and deliver outreach activities that will inform Native American farmers and ranchers, tribal governments, tribal communities and Tribal Colleges and Universities about the availability of, and encourage participation in, USDA programs.

The National American Indian Heritage Month celebration runs through November and is dedicated to honoring and recognizing the original peoples of this land.

“During American Indian Heritage Month, we celebrate the rich cultural traditions and proud ancestry of American Indians and Alaska Natives,” Veneman said. “We recognize the vital contributions these groups have made to the strength and diversity of our society.”

Veneman said the competitive grants fostering the needs-based training programs and focused educational programs will be developed to enhance skills and abilities of young Native American students to explore career opportunities in food and agricultural sciences. These projects will establish programs to disseminate information about USDA programs and services so that information may be obtained locally through tribal organizations and nationally through program collaborations.

The grants were awarded to:

Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma for “2501 Program Outreach to Native Americans (TONA)” for $210,000. Indian Nations Conservation Alliance, Twin Bridges, Montana for “Increasing USDA's Program Participation in Indian Country” for $155,000.

College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin for “Creating a Model Outreach Program for Native Americans” for $75,000.

The grants announced today are supported by six different mission areas in USDA: Marketing and Regulatory Programs; Research, Education and Economics; Rural Development; Food Safety; Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; and Natural Resources and Environment.