Economic and financial feasibility of an expanded farm enterprise for the Umatilla Indian Reservation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/3t945t907

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  • The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have begun a program aimed at increasing tribal participation in the farming of Reservation lands. This program is viewed by tribal leaders as a means to regain control of Reservation lands for Indians. The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate the financial and economic alternatives available to the Umatilla Farm Enterprise for expanding tribal land ownership and farming operations. An investigation of crop and marketing alternatives for the Umatilla Reservation area indicated that wheat, which historically has been the dominant crop grown in the area, together with green peas and alfalfa are potential crop alternatives. Sugar beets, onions, and carrots are agronomically suited for some Reservation lands, but formidable marketing problems eliminated them from further economic consideration in this study. A thorough examination was made of the alternative types and sources of credit that are available for financing the expansion of the farm enterprise. Regulations preventing the mortgage of Indian lands held in trust by the federal government, as well as other factors, have made it difficult for tribes 3nd individual Indians to provide adequate loan security. Nevertheless, a variety of sources of credit, both public and private, are available to Indians at present. Many of these sources could potentially be used to help finance a tribal agricultural enterprise. The Indian Finance Act of 1974 has offered the possibility of opening up new credit facilities, but tribes who have used or attempted to use this source report the large amount of paperwork required to be quite burdensome. The Farmer's Home Administration has a special loan program designed to finance Indian land purchases. The terms and conditions of these and other sources of finance are discussed and compared. Several farm enterprise expansion strategies were investigated through the use of a simulation program which made ten-year projections of costs, returns, and financial conditions. One stated tribal goal is to expand the farm enterprise to 6,000 acres within the next ten years. Simulation results indicate that to purchase all the land required for such an expansion probably would not be financially feasible. Nevertheless, given its current resources, the tribe is fully capable of such an expansion if it is based on a well-planned combination of land leasing and purchase.
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