WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today released the following statement after the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to advance the farm bill to the full Senate. Hoeven secured several priorities for Indian Country in the bill, including key provisions of the senator’s Cultivating Resources, Opportunities, Prosperity and Sustainability (CROPS) for Indian Country Act. The legislation strengthens tribal self-governance for USDA programs and promotes agribusiness and rural development opportunities for Native American farmers, ranchers and communities.
“We worked to craft a Senate farm bill that supports our Native American producers and enhances tribal self-governance for food and agricultural programs,” said Hoeven. “This legislation reflects key priorities for Indian Country, including creating a tribal self-determination pilot project for food procurement within the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. The bill also establishes a permanent tribal advisory committee within USDA and expands grant and research opportunities for tribal colleges and universities. These provisions will enhance the partnership between USDA and Indian tribes, and enable Native communities to develop agricultural programs and services to meet their unique needs.”
Chairman Hoeven secured the following Indian Country priorities in the Senate farm bill:
Tribal Self-Determination Project for FDPIR Food Procurement – Authorizes $5 million to establish a tribal self-determination procurement demonstration project within the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), which will allow tribal food programs to better serve the nearly 90,000 Native Americans who currently participate in FDPIR, including elders and youth.
Tribal Advisory Committee on Agriculture and Ranching – Establishes a permanent advisory committee within USDA to provide technical assistance, guidance, and direction on polices implemented by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Office of Tribal Relations.
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). The legislation also provides a technical fix to update the names of the 36 tribal colleges and universities.
Tribal Promise Zone Designees – Provides certainty to help ensure the four Tribal Promise Zones, including the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the Spirit Lake Tribe, have access to resources and technical assistance from federal agency partners.
International Trade Missions – Facilitates greater participation on international trade missions by Native American farmers and ranchers.
Addresses Food Fraud – Directs the Government Accountability Office to study the impact of foods fraudulently marketed as Native American produced goods.
Hoeven has led the Senate in including Indian Country’s priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In January, the Senator convened an oversight hearing to identify opportunities for Indian agribusiness and co-chaired a bipartisan roundtable on tribal traditional foods. In May, Hoeven introduced the bipartisan CROPS for Indian Country Act alongside Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.).