CONCHO, Okla. (AP) The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are
teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a research
and demonstration project to help restore grazing land.
and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Eddie Hamilton signs agreement.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Eddie Hamilton signed an agreement
Tuesday with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service for
the two-year soil health project, The Journal Record (http://bit.ly/2kjze5f
) reports. Hamilton says the project will help re-establish the
tribes' relationship with state agricultural departments.
Agricultural consultant Clay Pope says the project is likely
the first tribal-U.S. soil health demonstration project in the country.
A variety of grasses will be planted in seven 10-acre plots,
and staff members will measure organic matter content and carbon
levels to observe changes.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes economic development director Nathan
Hart says his tribes' staff will continue conservation efforts with
restoring grazing lands and increasing bison herds.
The land had been fallow for about six years, but soil microbes
are depleted due to conventional farming practices. Conservationists
will use less-intensive tilling methods to reduce soil erosion.
Pope said there is plenty of research in the northern Plains
region on the benefits of less-intensive agricultural practices.
The agreement will formally last two years, but NRCS' state
conservationist Gary O'Neill said he hopes to continue working with
the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes for five years to better track change