FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 26, 2018
Muscogee (Creek) Youth to Represent Nation, Present Essay During Intertribal Agriculture Council Member Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev.
OKMULGEE, Okla. – This December, Muscogee (Creek) citizen, Hayden Hodges, will join the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Division of Agriculture & Resources staff, as they head to Las Vegas, Nev., to represent the Nation and its current endeavors at the 2018 Intertribal Agricultural Council Member Meeting Dec. 10 – 13, 2018.
A Junior at Weleetka High School in Weleetka, Okla., and member of the MCN Ag Youth Program, Hodges participated in the annual IAC Essay Contest in conjunction with the 2018 national meeting.
Among the 140 essay submissions, Hodges’ essay was selected in the Top 75, which awards the 75 youth and a chaperone with a full-expense paid trip to attend this year’s meeting.
In addition to his essay ranking in the Top 75, Hodges later found out his essay was among the Top Three submissions and was asked to present his essay during the conference, which will come with a financial award, as well.
Hodges talked with MCN Ag Youth Program Manager Billy Haltom about this year’s essay topic. That’s when Hodges shared with Haltom the idea to write his essay on how the federal legislation of the New Farm Bill and the federal charity trust fund, Native American Agriculture Fund, can be used to better prepare the future generation with sustainability through non-profit programs, such as the MCN Ag Youth Program.
Every five years, the Farm Bill expires before a new Farm Bill is implemented with updates to legislation, which covers funding for agriculture and funding programs, while NAAF is the result of an 18-year-long federal litigation case, Keepseagle v. Vilsack, which created the fund to support non-profit organizations in support of Native American farming and ranching.
Hodges’ essay discussed how everyone could benefit from the new Farm Bill and NAAF providing funds to agricultural programs such as those within MCN, ranging from the Ag Youth Program, the College of Muscogee Nation, which is a land grant institution, to the MCN Natural Resource Conservation District.
“… Additional funding would ensure our ability as tribal organizations to better educate young students in the effects agriculture has on their life from promoting a better understanding of how food is grown to the importance of health and nutrition on their lives,” Hodges stated in his essay.
Hodges’ interest in farming continues to develop, as he made the decision to relocate from his hometown of Harrah, Okla., where his immediate family still resides, to Weleetka, Okla., after spending the summer there helping his grandfather on the farm.
He is now living with his aunt in Weleetka so that he can continue helping his grandfather with the farm.
Haltom expressed his excitement for Hodges’ opportunity to present his essay and share his passion for farming.
For the Nation, stories of achievement like Hodges’ and the support from programs such as the Ag Youth Program exemplifies it’s all about the people.
For more information on the MCN Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the programs provided, visit www.mcn-nsn.gov/division-of-agriculture-and-natural-resources or call 918-732-7628.