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Ute Bison to Supply Traditional Food to the Utah State School System

The Intertribal Agriculture Council's (IAC) American Indian Foods (AIF) program builds sustainable and vibrant food systems alongside Native agribusiness owners and entrepreneurs. In December 2022, a Request for Proposals opened for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program from the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). This opportunity focused on "supporting Utah’s small ranchers, local meat producers and processors” to help “schools improve meal quality with healthy, locally produced protein.”

As a tribal-owned business with the Ute Indian Tribe on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Ute Bison was well suited to submit a proposal. Their overriding goal is to provide consumers with healthy, quality bison meat products. Johanna Herron, AIF Business Development Specialist, worked with AJ Kanip, Director of Operations, and Dawna Ross, Marketing and Sales, of Ute Bison to prepare and submit a proposal through business development technical assistance such as identifying the submission components and making templates to streamline the writing process for the scope of work and letters of support. By April, Ute Bison received notification of intent to award from USBE and shared with Johanna that they would supply ground bison for the state’s school breakfast and lunch program.

“We learned a lot through the whole process,” said Johanna. “It was exciting to touch base again later and find out that it worked out. Now, we are proud to say that the Utah school system can purchase bison from a native-owned business.”

As a Made/Produced by American Indians trademarked product, AIF ensures that producers like Ute Bison receive fair value for their products within domestic markets. Building the Native food connection is an investment that IAC is committed to growing through its programs. You can invest in the Native food connection by donating to support IAC’s programs. From now until August 27 your donation doubles dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $5,000. Help us to reach this generous match provided by the John Deere Foundation.


Learn more about Ute Bison here.



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