USDA-CSREES Fort Hall Agricultural Extension Agent
The Fort Hall Reservation, located in southeastern Idaho, is home to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. There are 5,191 enrolled Shoshone-Bannock tribal members; more than 3,800 of these members live on the Reservation while 1,382 live off of the Reservation. The total population of both non tribal and tribal members living on the Fort Hall Reservation is 5,762. The Fort Hall Reservation consists of 544,000 total acres: 344,942 of these acres consist of rangeland used by cattlemen, hunters, fishermen and recreation enthusiasts; approximately 150,000 acres are in farm production. The remaining acreage is utilized for tribal businesses, economic development and residential areas. Tribal lands have proven to be a beneficial economic resource because the Tribe and a large percentage of Tribal members own portions of these lands and depend on income
derived from grazing permits and lease payments. Like many reservations, the Fort Hall Reservation has low education levels, high rates of poverty, and high incidences of drug and alcohol abuse. Many Tribal members desire to begin or remain in agriculture. To be successful, they need agricultural education that is up to date with current practices. Extension services offer an effective means to provide agricultural education to both adults and youth. Extension programs are currently the primary agricultural education resource available on the Reservation. Cessation of extension programming would leave tribal members with few resources for continued agricultural and youth education, reduced assistance with implementation of innovative agricultural technologies and marketing, and limited access to additional government and educational programs. The most important asset to the Tribe is
youth. Extension programs target youth ages five to 18. Tribal youth are faced with high poverty rates, difficult family situations, and lack of adequate education. Native American youth are often considered high risk in relation to drug and alcohol abuse. Extension provides classes in life skills development, cooking, macramT, gardening, and healthy eating, and 4-H leadership camp. Life skills courses teach youth healthy lifestyles and provide options to attend afterschool 4-H programs to reduce the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse. The program also plans to add an agricultural youth education component that will address horse and livestock education and cropping principles. Expected outcomes and impacts of the project will be a change in animal health and natural resource management, more active use of marketing agricultural products, improved farm and ranch economic situations and
improved youth programming that prepares youth for healthy adult life styles.