Skip to main content

Climate-Smart Indigenous Agriculture: Drought Planning and Adaptation with New Mexico Pueblos

The Southwest Climate Hub and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) are partnering with the Santa Ana Pueblo, the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), and the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute on the Climate-Smart Indigenous Agriculture Project. Indigenous farmers and ranchers in the U.S. Southwest face increasing climate stresses such as long-term drought and warming. Pueblos, Tribes, and individual farmers and ranchers are challenged with building the capacity to undertake soil health, grazing, and food security projects that are needed to build resilience and climate-smart agricultural systems. And they are doing so in a context of limited resources, and in some cases, small land bases. 

The overall project goal is to enhance agricultural adaptation to drought and climate change and this is supported by the following objectives: 

  • Learn about past drought response and adaptation from the standpoint of traditional knowledge
  • Assess the Pueblos' needs to build capacity for drought and conservation planning 
  • Co-design and implement culturally appropriate drought and climate planning technical capacity. 
  • Engage the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and natural resource managers through remote internships. 
  • Summarize the project outcomes, and gather and share feedback so that others may use the findings and resources

This is a two-year project, which is funded by the NRCS “Conservation Outreach: Equity through cooperative agreement” opportunity, and it will run through the spring of 2024. It is anticipated that one of the outcomes of this project is the enhanced capacity of Tribal agencies and members to apply for and receive USDA NRCS funding and technical support. 

Soil Health, Drought, and Climate Change Workshop

In March 2023, the Climate-Smart Indigenous Agriculture partners held a two-day workshop on soil health, drought, and climate change at the Santa Ana Pueblo. Twenty individuals attended the workshop with several pueblos represented among the attendees (Nambe, Santa Ana, San Ildefonso, Santa Domingo, Sandia, and Kewa). Workshop objectives included: 1. Increase awareness of soil health programs available to help Indigenous producers 2. Brainstorm projects to improve drought and climate resiliency 3. Engage with state and federal agency representatives to learn about technical assistance services and funding opportunities.

Workshop Presentations and Report

  • Linking Pueblo Producer Needs with Engagement

    A compilation of pictures showing an irrigated field, a gate in an irrigation ditch, some goats, and an irrigation ditch

    Maddie Goebel, National Drought Mitigation Center

  • The IAC Regenerative Agriculture Program

    A hand holding a clump of soil with earthworms

    Nicolas Rajen, Natural Resources Program Specialist, Intertribal Agriculture Council

  • NRCS programs overview

    Concrete irrigation ditch next to agricultural fields on the Santa Ana Pueblo

    Kristin Graham Chavez, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Development, NRCS.

  • NMDA Healthy Soil Program

    Picture of cover crops with NMDA logo

    Katie Goetz and Dean Bruce, New Mexico Department of Agriculture

  • Soil Health, Drought, & Climate Change Workshop

    Cottonwoods on the Santa Ana Pueblo, just before they green up in the spring

    Summary report