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(Tinian, MP) – Tinian ranchers recently had a chance to discuss agri-industry initiatives with members of the CNMI Small Business Development Center at the Northern Marianas College (CNMI SBDC-NMC) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Jose Dela Cruz, the president of the Tinian Cattlemen’s Association (TCA), along with Tinian senators Jude U. Hofschneider and Francisco Q. Cruz, explored the feasibility of the Tinian Cattlemen’s Association standing up a cooperative for all Tinian ranchers and farmers to participate in with Tinian SBDC Director Benjamin “Huk” Borja and CNMI SBDC Network Director Nadine C. Deleon Guerrero.

Dela Cruz stressed the importance of collaboration if Tinian’s end goal was to expand its capacity to export, with Saipan being its initial target market.

“I started my ranch over a decade ago, and I can tell you that if I wanted to expand commercially, I cannot do this alone,” Dela Cruz said. “We need our ranchers to come together with the same vested interest in mind – to provide for our islands and to produce enough to make a living out of it.”

CNMI SBDC Network Director Nadine Deleon Guerrero emphasized that there must be a connected, positive way for all ranchers and farmers to see the establishment of a cooperative if they wanted it to succeed.

“I hope the people of Tinian can see that we are here to help and to ensure that no one is making more or less than the other,” Deleon Guerrero said. “The goal is to make this beneficial for everyone. But first, we need everyone to come to the table.”

 The IEDC in partnership with the CNMI SBDC will be working towards formulating a plan and developing a cooperative structure that will best suit the needs of Tinian’s ranchers and farmers. The TCA may use the information provided to execute the plan, keeping in mind that a feasibility study regarding the establishment of the Tinian slaughterhouse is forthcoming, to help guide even further the TCA in its future ranching and farming operations.

One of the goals and initiatives of the CNMI SBDC Network is to provide networks outside of the Commonwealth to ensure our local small businesses receive the technical support and guidance they need to achieve their highest potential. It is through partnerships with organizations such as the IEDC that helps connect our business communities with resources outside of the CNMI to develop capacity and sustainability. The IEDC through collaboration with the CNMI SBDC met with other agencies throughout the week. At the end of the week-long meetings, the IEDC will work with the SBDC to create pathways to meet goals and address challenges our local ranchers and farmers are facing in hopes to provide critical access to tools and technical resources. 

The CNMI SBDC Network promotes a business-friendly economic infrastructure in the community, builds entrepreneurial capacity and financial literacy within that community, and provides current and nascent small businesses with the technical assistance, counseling, training, and support they need to innovate, adapt, and grow. 

The CNMI Small Business Development Center (CNMI SBDC) Network comprises the CNMI SBDC lead center located in Saipan, the Rota SBDC, and Tinian SBDC. CNMI SBDC Network is partially funded by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Northern Marianas College. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Requests for reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Language assistance services are available for limited English proficient individuals with at least two weeks advance notice. For arrangements, please contact your local SBDC at P.O.Box 501250 Saipan, MP 96950, Tel: (670) 237-6888, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,300 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Given the breadth of economic development work, IEDC’s members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions.



(Clockwise from top) Senator Jude U. Hofschneider, 2nd Senatorial District of the 23rd CNMI Legislature, Senator Francisco Q. Cruz, 2nd Senatorial District of the 23rd CNMI Legislature, Director of Operations Artees Vannett (Grey Snow Management Solutions/IEDC), Senior Vice President Jolene Schalper (Great Falls Development Authority/IEDC), Director Benjamin “Huk” Borja, Tinian SBDC, Associate AIF Director Britni Beck (Intertribal Agriculture Council/IEDC), Senior Economic Development Associate Delaney Luna (IEDC) and President Jose Dela Cruz, Tinian Cattlemen’s Association.