FARMINGTON, NM – For the next two years, Wilton Charley, NAPI Chief Executive Officer will continue the transformation of sustainable farming, increasing employment opportunities; and providing partnership opportunities in collaboration with Navajo Owned/Native Owned businesses.
On March 31, NAPI Board of Directors approved the extension of Charley’s contract. “We are pleased to announce the board’s decision that will continue the success and development of NAPI. The workforce has progressed under the leadership and vision of Mr. Charley,” says Peter Deswood III, NAPI Board Vice-Chairperson. “NAPI is working to restore itself by developing practical, long-term plans for sustained investments in workforce, diverse products, sustainable resources/energy and high-value agricultural productivity.”
In the previous year, NAPI experienced constructive change in leadership and altered the habituated style of farming. During harvest season, NAPI’s workforce level peaks up to 500 employees who are from the Navajo Nation.
Under the leadership of Mr. Charley, the focus of NAPI to transition from conventional farming to organic became a priority. NAPI’s organic program is initially located in the south region of the farm and projected to increase employment by 61% in the first year of operation. Charley says, “Our work force is enthusiastic about this new change. The organic program requires additional labor force to meet USDA rules and regulations.” NAPI received their certification in organics from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture Organic Program in 2016. NAPI will grow organic potatoes, melons, squash, and onions.
“Mr. Charley is very supportive through his guidance and transformed this project into a reality,” says Michael Castro, NAPI Chief Operations Officer. “Our staff prepared for the organic program through extensive research and trained directly with the best consultants in the industry. So far, the extent of knowledge our employees carry with them is very impressive.”
With NAPI’s new direction, the farm will further increase employment and crop diversification by 2019. In addition to the organic program, there will be an expansion of shade houses, similar to green houses. On average, approximately (2) employees per acre is required for building the crop beds, planting, cultivation, and harvesting of the organic crops in the green houses.
“We look forward to a prosperous season. NAPI employees are diligent, efficient, and well-informed of operating the farm. Their expertise and training will guide us through this new and exciting venture,” Charley says. “I’m thankful to the board and the staff for the opportunity to continue pursuing our vision at NAPI, benefiting the Navajo Nation.”
For more information on NAPI, contact 505-566-2600
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