Meet Your Local Conservationist An Interview with Sadie Lister

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family. What is the histroy of your ranch?

My family’s ranch goes back seven generations. Up until the 1940s, we were goat and sheep ranchers, but now we have cattle, goats, sheep, and horses. I received the ranch from my parents in 2005 and I share it with my siblings.

What type of crops or animals do you raise?

Just cattle and Navajo-Churro sheep.


What kind of conservation work have you done on your operation?

In the early 1940s, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Natural Resources, then located in Holbrook, AZ, implemented several demonstration projects intended for forage production and to prevent soil/water erosion within a fenced area; these were seen in various locations within the Indian Wells Community. One was situated within our customary land use area. Fencing in this area was in need of repair and we got EQIP funds to fix and restructure the fencing to include paddocks for rotational grazing in 1997.

We’ve done a lot of earthen dam repairs and have also made new earthen dams for the benefit of wildlife. In 2014, as a family utilizing the USDA’s Farm Services Agency Livestock Forage Program funds, we decided to repair an earthen dam gone dry.  Timing was excellent because that October we had an abundance of rain. The drought has been a challenge, but we are thankful for the precipitation we are getting now and pray that our forage will be abundant while we continue to implement projects to improve land conditions. We finally finished the project in January 2021.



How long have you been involved with NRCDs?

I became a member of the Little Colorado River Soil and Water Conservation District (LCR SWCD)/Navajo Nation in 2010. I am also an elected representative for the Community of Indian Wells which is one of 13 local governing Navajo Nation Chapters within the LCR SWCD. In my roles I have coordinated many outreach and education workshops with USDA Programs, Navajo Nation, BIA Natural Resources Programs, Cooperative Extension Programs, and land grant colleges.


Why did you get involved with NRCDs?

First involvement with the Districts came when my parents were recipients of EQIP. Years later I saw there was an open position on the board, so I decided to attend a community meeting and volunteered.


Thank you, Sadie Lister!