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Navajo Agricultural Products Industry helps tribe's general fund with $1M payment

Money will be used to provide services, fund daily operations

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, left, speaks to Navajo Agricultural Products Industry board members and employees on Oct. 6 at NAPI headquarters south of Farmington.
  • NAPI board members and officials presented the dividend payment on Oct. 6.
  • NAPI Board Chairperson Peter Deswood III said employees at NAPI are continuing to develop the vision and dream that Navajo leadership had when they established the agricultural area 50 years ago.
  • Tribal officials commended NAPI for developing its product brand, known as Navajo Pride.

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Agricultural Products Industry has distributed $1 million in company earnings to the Navajo Nation.

NAPI board members and officials presented the dividend payment on Oct. 6 to Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Vice President Myron Lizer and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Rick Nez.

The amount will go toward the tribe's general fund to help provide direct services and fund daily operations, according to a press release from the President's Office.

The presentation was done outdoors and with a small number of employees in attendance, according to the tribal enterprise.

The company also used two-way radio to broadcast the event to staff members working in various locations on the farm, which is 7 miles south of Farmington.

NAPI Board Chairperson Peter Deswood III said employees at NAPI are continuing to develop the vision and dream that Navajo leadership had when they established the agricultural area 50 years ago.

Peter Deswood

"As descendants, we are here as a people taking care of this farm and growing each year," Deswood said.

Tribal officials commended NAPI for developing its product brand, known as Navajo Pride.

Nez mentioned bags of Navajo Pride flour recently were featured on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." During the Sept. 30 episode, two bags of the flour were used in a baking segment on the show.

"The Navajo Pride label is now being seen by others throughout the country since it's on TV, and that should be commended by your team for getting that onto a national show. It shows that Navajo people are able to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in being able to get their product to places all over the country and all over the world," Nez said in a video of the event that NAPI posted on Facebook.

Lizer further commended the tribal enterprise's board members and employees for working to increase and market the Navajo Pride brand.

The vice president also mentioned the economic potential a proposed railroad could create for NAPI and other businesses on the tribal land.

Delegate Rick Nez, left, provides remarks during an event at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry on Oct. 6. The tribal enterprise made a $1 million dividend payment to the tribe.

The Navajo Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with San Juan County in February to partner for the development of a potential railroad that connects Farmington to Gallup, according to The Daily Times archives.

Lizer mentioned the idea in remarks at the event, calling it an economic opportunity for the tribe and the surrounding communities.

"Imagine if we brought our minds together, what projects can we bring to fruition," he said.

Delegate Rick Nez mentioned that the Resources and Development Committee authorized a land lease for NAPI in recent years.

"I was so glad that it passed by RDC," he said.

Rick Nez, who serves as chairperson for the committee, sponsored the bill in 2019 that authorized the first phase of the overall master agricultural lease.

"I know that it takes a lot of humble leadership to be honest about things and people support you in that way. We did it all for the workers and the Navajo Nation," the delegate said.

The President's Office press release stated that NAPI also contributed $1 million earlier this year to help the tribe with response efforts to COVID-19, in addition to donating food, hay and other resources to communities on the tribal land.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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