Padgley Gonzales was raised in District 3 of the Gila River Indian Reservation, where we are pleased to formally announce that she will work from as the new IAC Technical Assistance Specialist (TA) for the Western Region. Padgley will be providing TA support to tribal governments, farmers, ranchers, and youth in Arizona and Utah.
Gonzales attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a B.S. in Agribusiness, Economics and Management in December of 2019. She previously interned with the Gila River Indian Irrigation and Drainage District and Gila River Farms where she gained valuable insight into agriculture development and commercial agribusiness practices.
“Growing up, I raised sheep, chicken, and goats for pleasure. That taught me a ton of responsibility while I nurtured and cared for our animals and the land,” Gonzales said. “My parents were small business owners in the community, and this heavily influenced my passion for business development on the reservation.”
The hands-on experiences on the land that shaped her youth led Gonzales to pursue a degree in Agribusiness, Economics and Management from the University of Arizona. She said her degree combined her love of natural resources and business and made attaining a traditional business degree far more interesting than she expected. During that time, Gonzales participated in youth programming through the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) and IAC.
“The exposure to IAC programming broadened my horizons on the possibilities and opportunities within Indian Country. I also found significant impact in internships within my own community. I interned within the GRIC Agriculture Development Program and at our tribal farms,” she said. “It was interesting to see the USDA programs at work on the reservation as well as seeing areas of need. Most recently, I was a Natural Resource intern with IAC that offered a deeper understanding of conservation practices.”
“Coming from a business and marketing background, the Natural Resource intern experience gave me great insight into how soil health and regenerative agriculture practices can improve operations,” Gonzales said. “I’m excited to make an impact within the region for the youth, tribes, and producers. I am also excited to meet producers and find ways to improve agricultural business whether it be economically, environmentally, or both. This position is so unique, and I am excited to harness new opportunities and strengthen IAC’s presence in the region.”
Gonzales closed her dreams for the position with these thoughts, “I would love to see an increase in youth participation from this region and showcase the opportunities that our natural resources harness.”
“Feel free to reach out any time by email or phone. I am definitely excited to meet everyone! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone number is (520)-610-0807.”
Connect with Padgley on the IAC website at: www.indianag.org/western