Ross Racine was promoted to IAC Executive Director in January 2001 when the founder and former Executive Director of IAC, Greg Smitman, retired. Ross came to the IAC as the Natural Resources Director in 1991. Since 1999, he served as the Director of Programs, which include directing all program activity involving long-range natural resource planning, serving as liaison between IAC, USDA and Indian Tribes and producers. In collateral duties Ross was active in the initial workshops and outreach on cooperative development, and will be active in his technical role as resource planner in the future development and direction of existing and proposed cooperatives.
Ross is a Blackfeet Indian, veteran of the USMC, and has spent twenty eight years working on farms and ranches in the Browning, Montana area. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture/Animal Science in 1982 at Montana State University. His professional career began with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Browning, Montana as a Soil Conservationist working with Indian livestock producers on the Blackfeet Reservation. Ross accepted a promotion and transfer to the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, where he served a short stint as a BIA Soil Conservationist and was rapidly picked up by the Tribe to be their Range and Agriculture Coordinator, responsible for oversight on all BIA and Tribal land programs. While there he was the lead in creating the Warm Springs Reservation Integrated Resources Management Plan, a precedent setting document which earned the Northwest Regional Award of the Intertribal Timber Council and is used within Indian Country as a model for Tribal planning on land use.
He serves on the NRCS Chiefs Reinvention Forum Executive Committee, the Chief’s team regarding negotiation of the NRCS-Conservation District agreement, is conducting problem solving outreach for NRCS on a special assignment throughout Indian Country, initiated and participated in the early SCS Harmony workshops, and is co-chairman of the BIA’s writing team on regulation creation for resource planning required under PL103-177. Other involvements include National Agriculture Statistics Service Advisory Committee, Extension Indian Reservation Program Advisory Committee, Indian Land Tenure Foundation Board Member, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee for the National Congress of American Indians and serves on the local school board.
Ross’ entire professional career has been spent working with Indian farmers and ranchers in the development and management of their resources and he has extensive cross-cultural experience. As the Executive Director of Programs for the IAC, he has been most active in assisting USDA in bringing services to Indian producers.