Delegates from across Canada and as far away as Florida are at the Indigenous Agriculture Summit which is being held in conjunction with Agribition this week.

They are hearing first hand success stories and learning the ins and outs of how to access government programs, grants and financial institutions to help get their projects get off the ground.

This is the second year the Indigenous summit has been part of Agribition and it is also the second year the Seminole tribe from Florida has been in attendance.

Alex Johns is the natural resources director for the tribe which has built a successful beef industry.

Not only does the band raise the cattle, it also slaughters, packages and sells the finished product.

Johns says it is an industry that will always be in demand.

“We have got billions of people around the world that need to be fed and there is only a few of us that are capable of feeding them,” he says. “So we are going to have a high demand for our products, the expertise that we have is going to be in high demand.”

The Seminole tribe is one of the most prosperous First Nations in North America with interests in everything from casinos to the Hard Rock Café to farming.

The two-day Ag summit is being sponsored by the File Hills Fort Qu’Appelle Tribal Council which represents 11 bands across Saskatchewan.

Many of the member First Nations are involved in agriculture in one form or another.

Tribal Council Chair Edmund Bellegarde says there is lots of room for growth.

“Food security is becoming such a globalized issue so we have to understand how do we monetize, how do we build local economies and realize the value of our land but also look at it from our traditional teachings and our role as the stewards of mother earth,” he says.

There has been a First Nations pavilion at Agribition for the last four years but Indigenous Agriculture Summit Chair Elmer Eashappie says it is more of a cultural and entertainment venue.

He says it is time First Nations became bigger players in the industry itself and that this is what the summit is all about.