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u res, collection, cancelatums, losses, and outstanding balances for the fiscal years 1928 to 1936, incluse, Continued
Disposition of sheep and goats, Navajo Reservation, $225,000.—At the present time the range land of the Navajo Reservation is seriously overstocked and is being depleted at a rapid rate. The Indians living on this reservation are existing on a bare subsistence basis. Due to the poor quality of the livestock and their impoverished condition owing to the scarcity of nutritious forage on the depleted range, a large proportion of the natural increase is unsalable and therefore retained by the Indian further to increase the stocking, and to accelerate still further the rate of range depletion. Because of increased range impoverishment the remaining animals become proportionally less marketable.
It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that continued operation through normal commercial channels will not correct the present situation. Experience has also shown that straight purchase and slaughter of surplus stock by the Government will not solve the problem. What is needed is a mechanism whereby the necessary removal may be made regardless of market demand. This mechanism must be effective until range rehabilitation and stock improvement have progressed to the point where the reservation livestock products will meet the market demand as to weight, classes, and quality.
The range revegetation, soil conservation, and livestock improvement program will be at a standstill until such a time as livestock adjustment can be made to the carrying capacity of the range. The Government has already an investment of over 10 millions of dollars in range improvement and conservation work on this reservation. This investment will become largely ineffective and lost unless proper steps are taken to correct the overstocking due largely to the production of unmarketable livestock. Furthermore, the 50,000 Indians, now dependent principally upon these range resources, will eventually fall on direct relief unless this reservation is placed under a sound system of range management. If range degeneration is permitted to a point where it is necessary to place these Indians on a dole, the cost to the Government will be about two millions of dollars annually. The amount requested will be in the nature of an insurance policy to assure an outlet year by year for otherwise unmarketable stock and prevent the eventuality of a dole; it wili protect the tremendous investment of the Government in land improvement already made; it will assure the stocking of the ranges to their estimated carrying capacity; it will be of tremendous educational value to the Navajo tribe in that it will teach them to utilize to the fullest extent possible their own agricultural products in the marketing and feeding of lambs.
It is estimated that there is an annual unmarketable surplus of sheep alone on the Navajo Reservation of approximately 50,000 lambs. It is on a basis of this number that the appropriation is requested. The approximate break-down for this expenditure follows:
50,000 lambs (40 pounds each) at $0.05 per pound $100, 000
Feeding cost plus labor at $1.70 per head 85, 000
Freight and incidental cost 40, 000
Complete plans have not been formulated, but it has been proposed that all lands on the Rock Point and Fruitland Irrigation Projects on which the Navajos refuse to accept assignment prior to February 1, 1937, be planted to alfalfa and corn, with reimbursable funds, and this land be operated for a tribal feeding enterprise for fattening lambs which otherwise would be unmarketable and for animals purchased from livestock owners affected by stock adjustment or reduction requirements.
Land on these two projects could be planted to alfalfa and corn for the purpose of growing hay, ensilage, and concentrates necessary to fatten immature and peewee lambs. Feeding corrals could be established at Farmington, possibly at Rock Point and at a point adjacent to Gallup. Then, after all commercial purchases by traders and others have been completed the tribe, through its revolving fund, could purchase unmarketable lambs remaining on the range and these lambs could be concentrated at the points mentioned for feeding and fattening. Approximately 150 days feeding will be required to bring the weight of a lamb purchased at 40 pounds up to 80 pounds. On the basis of a purchase price of 5 cents Per pound and a selling price of 8 cents a pound there should result a net profit to 'he tribe of $1.90 per head.
To raise the amount of corn and alfalfa necessary for this feeding operation, we
estimate that 5,100 acres of land will be required. " This is a little more than half
we total irrigable area of both the Fruitland and Rock Point projects. With a
decrease of wage income there will be a growing need for land by nonstock owning
""nilies for subsistence purposes. Therefore, it is believed that this land should not be maintained as a tribal operation indefinitely. It is believed that it will be possible over a period of a few years to develop this tribal feeding operation to a point where it will be possible to buy feed from Indians, assigned on this project, and still maintain the principal of the revolving fund.
In any feeding operation it will be found that many so-called pee-wee or docv lambs will not fatten to a point where they can be marketed profitably. In any buying operation which is considering large numbers of such stock there is an obvious need for a local outlet. Therefore, it is proposed that this class of stock be slaughtered and sold locally to boarding schools and hospitals.
It might be found that profitable arrangements can be made with the Pima Reservation and shipments of unmarketable lambs made to that point for fattening and shipment to the Denver or Kansas City livestock market. Then too, the early development of the Parker project on the Colorado River will furnish 3D excellent outlet for this and other classes of stock. For these reasons any revolving funds appropriated for the use of the Navajo should be kept as fluid as possible in order to meet market changes, take advantage of possible less expensive feeding outlets and for the employment of personnel as needed.
It has been suggested that a slaughter and cold-storage house be constructed adjacent to the Santa Fe Railroad where fat and other Navajo lambs might be slaughtered for storage and distribution to boarding schools and hospitals on thi= and other reservations. Such a plant, if constructed, presents great possibilities, not only for packing, storage, and distribution of meats through these outlets but also through regular commercial channels. A feeding operation of this character would develop fat and highly marketable lambs at a season of the year, March, when there is a great demand for lambs. Such a plant would, of course, be in competition with private enterprise. Since it would be a tribal operation, however, it is doubtful whether much criticism wrould result. A rather cursory investigation of the amount of money required to start on a comparatively small scale such a plant indicates a need for approximately $50,000. A venture of this kind which contemplated shipment of fat lambs to boarding schools on other Indian reservations, to be successful, would require that such boarding schools have cold-storage facilities adequate to accept meat shipments in carload lots. It is doubtful whether any of the boarding schools have such facilities. It might be possible in many cases for them to utilize and make arrangements for the storage of meat in local or nearby cold-storage plants. If this is true, then the lack of storage facilities at the boarding school proper, in many cases, would not be a great obstacle.
The above proposals are no doubt incomplete and will bear a much closer analysis in order to be perfected. We know that at the present time there are produced on the Navajo Reservation approximately 50,000 unmarketable lambs which are unmarketable largely because they are underweight. If purchased in their present condition they would not be salable; in order to be sold, these lambs must be made marketable; they cannot be marketed until they are fattened; in order to be fattened they must be fed; therefore feeding operations of some kind are necessary. On the reservation we have only two projects which offer such an opportunity, namely the Rock Point and the Fruitland project*. Therefore, the proposal is made that they be utilized and operated for the benefit of the Navajo Tribe rather than for individuals in order to remove from the overburdened ranges of the Navajo surplus stock which cannot otherwise be disposed of.
The problem of disposition of now unmarketable stock on the Ztini, Lagan a, and Acoma Reservations is similar to that which we are facing on the Navajo. There is no reason, as we see it, why a revolving fund even though it may be appropriated for the Navajo, could not lx? used to buy unmarketable sheep for fattening from these tribes. If so used a revolving fund of this kind would not only lienefit 50,000 Navaio Indians but would, in addition, benefit 5,000 Pueblo Indians who are facing much the same problem and whose ranges are almost as l>adly depleted as those of the Navajo.
Mr. Johxsox. May I ask if the Indians are availing themselves of the opportunity, and are using this fund?
Mr. Dodd. They are.
Mr. Johnson. Are you having more applications from worthy Indian youths than you have funds?
Mr. Donn. No; I do not believe so, in connection with this appropriation. We have later on an item for educational loans, especially to those Indians who have accepted the Indian Reorganization Act.
Mr. Johnson. Indians of some of the tribes in Oklahoma have not accepted this reorganization act nor are they in sympathy with it.
Mr. Dodd. We are making loans from that fund to Oklahoma Indians because the original act excluded Oklahoma from certain sections; Oklahoma was included in all of the money sections of the bill.
Mr. Johnson. That is correct.
ADVANCEMENT TO NAVAJO TKIBE FOR MARKETING OF SURPLUS SHEEP AND GOATS
I find new language in this item; a proviso relating to sheep and goats on the Navajo Reservation, which reads:
Provided further, That not to exceed $275,000 may be advanced to the Navajo Tribe of Indians for the purchase, feeding, sale, slaughter, or other disposition of Bheep, goats, and other livestock belonging to the Navajo Indians, including the erection of necessary structures, the installation of utility services, the purchase of machinery and equipment (including passenger-carrying vehicles), materials and supplies, the purchase or lease of land or buildings, salaries of employees, traveling expenses, printing, binding, and advertising, and all other necessary expenses.
Mr. Collier. Mr. Chairman, this is an item of great importance.
I might add that it is the purpose under this provision to loan the Navajo Tribe of Indians some money to make it possible for them to market the surplus sheep and goats economically and efficiently.
Mr. Rich. What do you intend to do with that $275,000? Do you plan on building slaughterhouses and manufacturing establishments?
Mr. Collier. There would undoubtedly be some slaughterhouse facilities constructed.
The situation is trus: May I for a moment give you a picture of what they are up against down there?
Mr. Johnson. Go ahead, Mr. Collier.
Mr. Collier. I would like to explain why it is necessary.
NATURE AND CONDITION OF NAVAJO RESERVATION
Mr. Collier. The Navajo Reservation is a semidesert area, badly damaged by erosion.
The sheep are all of a peculiar tough type, that can run 10 miles a day in the process of getting enough to eat.
Ordinarily out in the West when you are going to market your lambs and where they have not been raised on good pasture, or fairly good pasture, it is customary to put them up and fatten them, to bring up their weight, and you get your money that way.
Now, under the conditions by which sheep and goats are raised on the Navajo Reservation, they are so scrawny that you cannot sell them to advantage. In fact you can get little or nothing for diem, for it is necessary to fatten them first. And the situation now ls, that being unable to sell them, or being unable to sell them for more than a nominal amount, the Navajos keep them on the range, and the range already is terribly overloaded. The range is terrifically overgrazed. As a result of the range being overgrazed, the animals are so poor on the range that the Indians do not get their money out °f them and this result is due to the fact that there is no adequate fiiarketing system, and particularly because they have no means of fattening their lambs.
Now, if there was some means of fattening the lamhs, these animals could be slaughtered; and the Navajos would get the money and the sale would reduce overgrazing. The poorest of the cull stock could be canned for human consumption or for dog and cat food; and that is true likewise of the wild horses.
APPROPRIATION WOULD PROVIDE REVENUE AND PERMIT RANGE TO COME BACH
Now the purpose of this appropriation is twofold.
It is to enable the Navajos to get a revenue for the hundreds of thousands of their animals that they cannot sell now, and then it will get those hundreds of thousands of animals off the range, relieving the range, and allowing it to come back, so that the remaining stock can prosper.
It is set up as a revolving fund, and we are hopeful, in fact we believo, that it will be an economical operation and will pay out year after year.
Mr. Johnson. You expect to get some money back?
Mr. Collier. We do not know why we should not. Of course, we could not guarantee it.
Mr. Rich. How close to this Navajo Tribe do you have your slaughterhouses?
Mr. Collier. You must go to Phoenix or Los Angeles or El Paso.
Mr. Rich. How far is that?
Mr. Collier. They are, roughly, 500 miles away.
Mr. Rich. They are the nearest ones?
Mr. Collier. Am I right on that?
Mr. Cooley. There is Denver.
Mr. Collier. But Denver is still farther.
The main fact is that the packing plant would be a minor item in the outlay of this money. If we had the money to fatten the animals and get them to the market, they would no longer need to be held on the range, taking the place of better animals that should have the range.
Mr. Leavy. Do these flocks of sheep and goats belong to individual owners or are they owned by the tribe collectively?
Mr. Collier. They belong to individuals, and they vary in size.
This Navajo area forms a great part of the Colorado River watershed. It is the area which is shedding now an appalling amount of silt into Boulder Dam. It is the area where the Government, through the Soil Conservation Service, is spending heavily to save the soil; and unless we can cut down the animal overpopulation, all the effort is in vain. It is of vital concern to the Nation as a whole, not merely to the Navajo Tribe.
Mr. Rich. Could you get those Indians to sell their surplus?
Mr. Collier. Yes.
Mr. Rich. Why would it not be a good thing to run them in a train and haul them out?
Mr. Colliek. But then you would have to fatten them. That is what we want to do.
Mr. Leavy. I think they are only 300 miles from Phoenix.
Mr. Cooley. Yes.
Mr. Collier. But you cannot get much for them if you do not fatten them first. They can be fattened, or they can be shipped to the South and fattened upon grass.