The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (Navajo Gaming) in conjunction with Navajo Nation Leadership and Labatt Food Service is celebrating the expansion of the successful Navajo Beef Program just two years after its launch the end of 2012. The program features local Navajo ranchers raising high quality beef, Labatt Food Service distributing it and Navajo Gaming purchasing it to serve in its resort, casinos and restaurants. Since its launch November 2012, the program has grown in revenue for local Navajo ranchers, product distributed and customer base.
“As leaders in the Navajo Beef initiative, and its first customer, we are proud of its expansion and the positive benefits the increased revenue will create for even more local Navajo Ranchers,” stated Derrick Watchman, CEO of Navajo Gaming. “The Navajo Beef Program is just one component of Navajo Gaming’s larger commitment to buy Navajo and further demonstrates Gaming’s role as an economic engine for Northern Arizona, New Mexico and The Nation.”
In 2013, the Navajo Beef Program’s first year, Navajo ranchers generated $439,768 in sales. Growth during the program’s second year (2014) increased by approximately 15 percent and now includes more than 50 Navajo ranchers. Revenue generated back for these individuals and families was $745,940 for year two. Additionally, in 2014 there were 481 head of cattle in the program and in 2015 there are 561. That number will continue to increase as additional ranchers are identified and the customer base continues to grow.
Navajo Beef is now available on the menu at Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Northern Edge Navajo Casino and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – three of Navajo Gaming’s properties.
"The Navajo beef initiative is a tremendous opportunity for self-sufficiency. For generations, we have known that livestock is an important way of life that must be preserved. By working with our partners at Navajo Gaming and Labatt, we are enriching our tribal economy and going back to a traditional way of life," Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said. "We look forward to growing this partnership for the generations to come."
Through the Navajo Beef Program – at Padres Mesa Ranch in Chambers Ariz., 14R in the New Lands area and Turquoise Grazers in Window Rock, Ariz. – ranchers uphold traditional practices to produce premium, quality beef that is always tender and full of flavor. Navajo Certified Beef is Choice grade or better and aged 21 days.
“The tenderness of the Navajo Beef is unmatched because of ranching techniques incorporating a low stress environment (such as herding on horseback or foot), low antibiotic use and natural grass fed cattle,” explained Al Silva, Chief Operating Officer of Labatt Food Service. “Navajo Ranchers averaged $1,200 per head and additional ranchers and cattle are being sought for 2016.”
Labatt Food Service, the eighth largest broad line food service distributor in the country, ensures the quality of the beef, that local Navajo ranchers receive fair payment and that the entire animal is used.
To taste Navajo Certified Beef, visit Fire Rock Navajo Casino, Northern Edge Navajo Casino or Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort. To learn more about the program visit http://www.wherefoodcomesfrom.com/NativeAmericanBeef/. To learn more about Labatt Food Service visit http://www.labattfood.com.
About Navajo Gaming:
Navajo Gaming (The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise) is a Navajo Nation wholly-owned business entity created by the Navajo Nation in September 2006. NNGE is authorized by the Navajo Nation to develop and operate Navajo casinos in accordance with federal and Navajo Nation laws, as well as the negotiated Navajo Nation-applicable state compacts (New Mexico and Arizona).
Navajo Gaming opened its first Navajo Casino on November 19, 2008 – Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico. The second Navajo Casino opened October 13, 2010 – Flowing Water Navajo Casino in Tsé Daak’áán Chapter, near Shiprock, New Mexico. The third Navajo Casino opened January 16, 2012 – Northern Edge Navajo Casino – in Upper Fruitland Chapter, near Farmington, New Mexico. The fourth Navajo Casino – Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort – is located in Leupp Chapter, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Currently, Navajo Gaming has 1,400 employees.
Navajo Gaming’s vision includes job growth opportunities for Navajos, to continue returning revenue to the Navajo Nation and continue building the Navajo gaming and hospitality brand.