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This year’s Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit will dive deeper into food and agricultural production and policy. The March 15 final deadline for applications is approaching.

More intensive than previous years, the sixth annual summit — organized by the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas — will focus on skills-development across four core subject matter areas:

1) Agricultural Business and Finance;

2) Land Stewardship and Conservation;

3) Agricultural Law and Policy; and

4) Nutrition and Health.

Industry experts will lead summit participants in small groups of their peers, equipping them with the critical skills they need to serve as the next generation of food and agriculture leaders across Indian Country. Students will walk away with knowledge of vital agricultural practices that will support them in their own farming and ranching endeavors, and prepare them to assist with long-term agricultural planning and production at a Tribal government level.

Janie Simms Hipp, who launched the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas, after serving as senior advisor for tribal relations to former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, said last year:

“Across Indian Country, Tribes are investing deeply in food and agriculture production, both for economic development and for the health and well-being of their people and communities. It is critical that our young people understand the role of Tribal governance and sovereignty in regaining our futures around food. This more intensive summit allows them to engage with each other and their course material in a deeper, more meaningful way.”

Hipp, J.D., LL.M., an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation, recently left the Indigenous Food and Agriculture initiative to lead the Native American Agriculture Fund, which oversees $266 million in funds derived from the Keepseagle settlement.

RELATED: Native American Agriculture Fund Created to Distribute $266M Trust

Colby Duren — who counts more than 11 years of national-level experience in federal Indian law and policy, with a specific focus on food, agriculture and natural resources issues — was named the replacement director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative in November 2018. The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative is now a unit within the University of Arkansas’ Office of Economic Development (it was formerly housed within the University of Arkansas’ School of Law).

RELATED: Janie Simms Hipp to Lead Native American Agriculture Fund

The 2019 Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit is open to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth, ages 18-23 (including recently graduated high school seniors).

The priority deadline for application submission (March 1) has passed. The final deadline for ALL applications is March 15, 2019, at 11:59pm Central Time. Space is limited this year, and the university cannot accept late applications.

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