Customer appreciation day nixed at NAPI over COVID concerns

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Erik Lopez, 11, left, and Aaliyah Williams, 6, right, wait in line for drinks after getting baked potatoes during Navajo Agricultural Products Industry's customer appreciation day on Nov. 5, 2016 at the company's Region 2 scales south of Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Navajo Agricultural Products Industry has canceled its customer appreciation day for the second year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tribal enterprise made the announcement on Oct. 25 on its website and Facebook page.

"Due to COVID restrictions for mass gatherings and concerns for the safety of our employees and customers, the annual event is canceled," the company stated.

The event usually takes place on the first Saturday in November and offers reduced pricing on produce grown and products made at the 72,000-acre farm south of Farmington.

NAPI further explained that because it is an enterprise of the Navajo Nation, it is abiding by public health orders issued by the Navajo Department of Health.

Tyler Becenti, bean plant laborer for Navajo Agricultural Products Industry, unloads hay bales on Nov. 1, 2018 to set up a traffic barricade for customer appreciation day at the farm south of Farmington.

This includes operating under restrictions the health department set in its Oct. 18 order that extended the orange status under the reopening plan for businesses on the tribal land.

Health department officials stated in the order that the extension was due to the steady plateau in COVID-19 transmission.

The tribe has seen the number of new cases fluctuate this fall, sometimes numbering in the teens to rising above 100.

On Oct. 25, the department placed 48 communities on the tribal land under a health advisory notice because of the rate of COVID-19 infections in those areas from Oct. 8 to Oct. 21.

Communities from the Northern Agency in San Juan County on the advisory are Naschitti, Newcomb, Sanostee, Sheep Springs, Shiprock, Two Grey Hills and Upper Fruitland.

Other communities in New Mexico and Arizona are Baca-Prewitt, Breadsprings, Cameron, Chichiltah, Chinle, Church Rock, Coppermine, Cove, Coyote Canyon, Crownpoint, Dilkon, Fort Defiance, Ganado, Houck, Indian Wells, Inscription House, Jeddito, Kaibeto, Kayenta, Lukachukai, Lupton, Many Farms, Nahata Dziil, Nahodishgish, Piñon, Red Valley, Rock Point, Rock Springs, Rough Rock, St. Michaels, Standing Rock, Sweetwater, Teec Nos Pos, Teesto, Thoreau, Tohatchi, Tonalea, Tsaile-Wheatfields, Tsayatoh, Tselani-Cottonwood and Tuba City.

Navajo Agricultural Products Industry employees set up a large tent on Nov. 1, 2018 as part of preparation work for the company's customer appreciation day.

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

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