WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, provided the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s provisions related to USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
“USDA is taking important steps to implement the work of Congress in the CARES Act,” said Hoeven. “There is an immediate need for USDA services in Indian country while tribal communities experience the effects of COVID-19. President Trump and Secretary Perdue understand that, which is why USDA is acting to get federal resources out to the communities in order to help rural America, including Indian country, combat this public health emergency.”
As part of its announcement, USDA also detailed the next steps they are taking to implement several important provisions, which Hoeven worked to include in the 2018 Farm bill. These provisions include the “self-determination demonstration project,” which USDA held a formal tribal consultation on last week. The provisions direct the USDA to establish a demonstration project for one or more participating Indian Tribal Organizations to enter into self-determination contracts to purchase USDA foods for their FDPIR programs.
Hoeven secured $100 million in additional resources for tribal nutrition and agriculture programs in the CARES Act. Of these funds, $50 million is set aside to bolster infrastructure projects to combat COVID-19’s impact on tribal food and agriculture programs. Eligible improvements include personal protective equipment, freezers/coolers, mobile IT equipment, and vehicles for home deliveries, which are just a few items that can be purchased using these funds.