Navajo Nation to remove feral livestock to address overpopulation

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture (NNDA) will hire at least 20 temporary laborers by early August to help with feral livestock removal on the Navajo Nation in response to animal overpopulation.

The Navajo Nation Council passed the legislation on July 18 and Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly signed the legislation on July 25.

The department decided the action was necessary after many conversations through tribal ranch meetings, grazing meetings, the annual agriculture conference and presentations at the local level. Representatives in these meetings expressed concern with the continuous drought conditions, extreme temperatures and high winds that have combined to cause forage degradation, erosion and loss of topsoil.

"NNDA is pleased to work with each community in carrying out the goals and objectives of the legislation. We look forward to better protecting and managing Navajo natural resources for the use and enjoyment by current and future generations of Navajo people, animals and wildlife," the NNDA said in a statement.

The department said that to allow the land to rest and allow communities to begin conservation and rangeland improvement activities, animal overpopulation needed to be addressed.

The NNDA will work with Navajo chapters to immediately begin an intense schedule of feral livestock roundups until the end of September 2013. The department will follow all Navajo laws and regulations. The agency encourages chapters to pass multi-year legislation and to contact NNDA to schedule multi-year round up events in August and September. The legislation included $250,000 for payment to those chapters with current or past rounds ups.

The Navajo Nation Veterinary Livestock and Veterinarian Program will provide limited castration and sterilization services at no cost.

In addition to at least 20 temporary laborers, NNDA needs people with horses, vehicles, stock trailers and livestock management skills.

Applications and job descriptions are available at the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture and Department of Personnel Management website at www.agriculture.navajo-nsn.gov.

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