Udall Secures Key Tribal Provisions In Farm Bill
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released the following statement on tribal provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization, which will set federal nutrition, agriculture, forestry, and nutrition policy for the next five years and includes many tribal-specific provisions championed by Udall in the CROPS for Indian Country Act and the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act.
“I worked closely with stakeholders throughout Indian Country and key partners on both the Senate Indian Affairs and Senate Agriculture Committees to make sure every title of this year’s Farm Bill supports tribal families, farmers, and ranchers in a meaningful way,” Udall said. “I’m very pleased that we were able to work across committees and across the political aisle to secure a record number of tribal priorities for Indian Country in this Farm Bill.”
Udall worked to set tribal priorities for this year’s Farm Bill with tribal leaders, the Native Farm Bill Coalition, and other Native stakeholders at an Indian Affairs hearing on agribusiness and a roundtable on farm bill priorities in January.
Highlights of Udall’s Tribal Farm Bill Provisions include:
Expands Tribal Self-Determination to USDA – Authorizes tribal self-determination demonstration projects to USDA for the first time. A Tribal Self-Determination Project for Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) Food Procurement, which will allow tribal food programs to better serve the nearly 90,000 Native FDPIR participants with greater access to traditional and nutritional foods, and a Tribal Self-Determination Project for forestry functions, which will allow tribes to enter into administrative and management contracts with the Forest Service and BLM. This provision will help reduce wildfire threats on Federal lands adjacent to Native communities.
Tribal Advisory Committee on Agriculture – Establishes a permanent tribal advisory committee within USDA to provide technical assistance, guidance, and direction on all polices implemented by the USDA and its Office of Tribal Relations. This provision will ensure that Indian Country’s unique needs are considered early on to maximize efficiency and facilitate the federal government-to-government relationship.
Tribal Promise Zones – Ensures the Tribal Promise Zone initiative will continue to provide improved access to resources and technical assistance from federal agency partners to Native communities. Promise Zones rely on collaborative relationships with local communities and federal agencies to optimize federal resources.
International Trade Missions – Facilitates greater participation on international trade missions by Native American farmers and ranchers, allowing tribal producers the opportunity to sell traditional crops and tribal products in the international market.
Research at Tribal Colleges and Universities – Enhances grant and research opportunities for tribal colleges and universities by expanding access to nearly $11.3 million in USDA research and extension funding, including the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program; the Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program; and the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP).
Establishment of Rural Development Technical Assistance Program for Indian Country – Establishes a Technical Assistance Program tailored to tackle the unique challenges of Tribal government, Tribal businesses and entities in accessing USDA’s rural development resources.
Study of the Farm Credit System – Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the agricultural credit needs of farms, ranches and agricultural businesses to determine whether the institutions of the Farm Credit System need to be improved to meet the unique needs of Indian Country.