Policy Brief – November 14, 2023

Home 9 Policy Briefing 9 Policy Brief – November 14, 2023

Policy Brief Summary

Last week, two Congressional hearings related to environmental issues included access to clean water and salmon declines.  Several Congressional hearings this week will discuss legislation related to Tribal food and agriculture, including one at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 16 where committee members will discuss six pieces of legislation. 

 BIA has three leasing regulations consultations this week (2 in-person and 1 virtual). IFAI created a Tribal Leader Briefing Document and is interested in speaking to Tribal producers who have thoughts on these proposed agriculture leasing updates.  

In Tribal News this week, the articles cover Tribal economic ventures and Native cuisine as well as an agreement between the Intertribal Agriculture Council and Farm Journal Foundation to assist Native American cattle farmers and ranchers in implementing climate-smart grazing practices. 

Congressional updates   

Hearing: Senate Environment and Public Works , Nov. 8.  

Topic: Clean Water Infrastructure Assistance 

Highlights: Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality’s Shellie Chard stated that Tribal communities (as well as others) struggle with a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the need for water access and infrastructure. 

Field Hearing: Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Nov. 10  

Topic: The Impact of the Historic Salmon Declines on the Health and Well-Being of Alaska Native Communities Along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers 

Written Comments: SCIA is accepting additional written comments to testimony@indian.senate.gov  

Highlights: In addition to the public, several leaders/representatives of Alaska Native communities and organizations submitted written testimony. They include: 

Looking Ahead


Hearing: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. EST 

Topic: Innovation in American Agriculture: Leveraging Technology and Artificial Intelligence 


  • Dr. Mason Earles, Assistant Professor, Viticulture & Enology; Biological & Agricultural Engineering at the University of California, Davis 
  • Sanjeev Krishnan, Chief Investment Officer & Senior Managing Director of S2G Ventures 
  • Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, President of the Dakota State University 
  • Dr. Jahmy Hindman, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Deere & Company 
  • Todd Janzen, President of the Janzen Schroeder Agricultural Law LLC 


Hearing: House Committee on Natural Resources, Nov.14 at 2 p.m. EST 

Topic: the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold a legislative hearing on the following bills: 

  • H.R. 4353 (Rep. Salinas), “Civilian Conservation Center Enhancement Act of 2023”. 
  • H.R.4717 (Rep. Lamborn), “Locally Led Restoration Act of 2023”. 


Hearing: House Natural Resource Committee, Nov. 14 at 2:15 p.m. EST 

Topic: Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Public Safety in Tribal Communities. 

Witnesses: None listed at time of publication 


Hearing:  Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Nov. 15th at 2:30 pm EST 

Topic: New Mexico Rural Water/ Oglala Sioux Tribe Land; mark up of S. 1898 and S. 2088 

Witnesses: N/A 


Hearing: House Natural Resource Committee, Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. EST 

Topic: Examining the Impacts of the Department of the Interior’s Remote and Telework Policies 

Witnesses: N/A 


Hearing: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. EST 

Topic: Pending Business: 

  • S. 1776 – to Provide for the protection of and investment in certain Federal land in California. 
  • S. 1889 – to provide for the recognition of certain claims under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act  
  • S. 1890 – to provide for the establishment of a grazing management program on Federal land in Malheur County, Oregon 
  • S. 2581 – to extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 
  • S. 2615 – to amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act  
  • S. 3036 – to require the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the State of Utah certain Federal land under the administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management  

Witnesses: N/A 

Executive branch and federal agency actions: 

There were no Executive Branch announcements related to Tribal food and agriculture at the time of publication.

Regulatory/Rulemaking actions:


Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Action: Comment Request Regarding Collection of Information on Operational Challenges in Child Nutrition Programs; Comment submission deadline by Dec. 13, 2023. 

Why it matters: FNS plans to collect periodic data to obtain information on operational challenges facing institutions who operate or administer child nutrition programs, including State agencies, SFAs and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Sponsors. Collecting this data will allow FNS to provide the best possible support to States and program sponsors and operators facing continued food service operations challenges and enable FNS to respond more quickly and effectively to potential disruptions in the future. 

Posted: Week of November 13 

Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Action: Comment Request regarding Information Collection Requirements for SNAP; submission date by Nov. 30, 2023. 

Why it matters: FNS is interested in exploring how State agencies define and measure the quality of customer service for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicants and participants, particularly strategies that go beyond the minimum requirements set by FNS; and how State SNAP agencies implement and refine their customer service approaches. FNS is looking to review existing case studies, reports, and data on customer services strategies and approaches.  

Posted: Week of Nov. 6 

Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Action: Comment Request regarding Information Collection Requirements for WIC; submission date by Dec. 4, 2023. 

Why it matters: The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to implement a program to recognize exemplary breastfeeding support practices at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) local agencies and clinics. Information collected through this program will be used to evaluate components of existing breastfeeding programs and support within WIC local agencies, to recognize local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding programs and support services, and to provide examples of model programs to motivate local agencies and clinics to strengthen their breastfeeding promotion and support activities. 

Posted: Week of Nov. 6  

Agency: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) 

Action: Final Rule Notice re: Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (to be published soon) 

Why it matters: USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is adding new provisions to organic livestock and poultry production requirements. The new provisions pertain to livestock handling and transport, slaughter, and poultry living conditions; specifically related to standards for six key areas that include: outdoor space requirements, indoor and outdoor living conditions, and poultry stocking densities. AMS expects that these new provisions will address the inconsistent application of organic livestock standards that has likely contributed to a market failure. AMS reports that Tribal leaders did not raise questions or concerns during and after Tribal consultation in Sept. 2021. 

Posted: Week of Oct. 30 

Agency: Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund 

Action: Notice of funding opportunity for Small Dollar Loan Program (SDLP); Various deadlines attached to steps in the application process with final submission date by December 20, 2023. 

Why it matters: The SDLP provides grants to (1) establish a loan loss reserve fund to cover losses on small dollar loans; and (2) for technical assistance on technology, staff support, and other activities needed to establish and maintain an SDLP.  

Posted: Week of Oct. 30 

Agency: DOI Bureau of Land Management  

Action:  Nominations for Site-Specific Advisory Committees; due by Nov. 24, 2023 

Why it matters: Nominations are open for six advisory committees that provide advice and recommendations to the BLM on the development and implementation of management plans in accordance with the statute under which the sites were established. The six sites are in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Utah.   

Posted: Week of Oct. 30

Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Action: Agency collection activities for FNS programs; Comments due by December 26, 2023 

Why it matters: FNS is requesting a generic clearance to conduct quick-turnaround surveys of State, local, and Tribal entities that receive food, funds, and nutrition information through FNS programs, including FDPIR, WIC, and CSFP, which are administered by Indian Tribal Organizations. Previously, FNS conducted one program survey per year at the State and local levels. With these revisions, State, local, and Tribal administrators would receive requests for information with an average of one per, program per year, but no more than three surveys about the same program each year.  

Posted: Week of Oct. 30 

Tribal Consultation and Listening Sessions:


Title of Event: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Agricultural Leasing Regulations 

About: DOI is revising its agricultural leasing regulations found at 25 CFR Part 162 Subpart B, which promote Tribal self-determination through management of Indian agricultural and related renewable resources that match Tribal goals in conservation, multiple use, and sustained yield. These regulations will address leases of agricultural land suited or used to produce crops, livestock, or other agricultural products.

  • Date and Time: Session 3, Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST 
  • Location: Holiday Inn Bismarck, Missouri Room, 3903 State St, Bismarck, ND 58503 


Title of Event: Bureau of Indian Affairs – Contract Support Costs (CSC) for Tribes with Self-Governance Funding Arrangements 

About: BIA would like to determine how to compensate Self-Governance Tribes for CSC when they are not required to submit budgets. 

  • Date and Time: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 @1-4 p.m.  Alaska 
  • Location: BIA Providers Conference Dena’ina Center, 600 W 7th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501  

Court Decisions:   

There were no court decisions related to Tribal food and agriculture at the time of publication. 

Tribal News:

Food Sovereignty Innovation on the Pine Ridge Reservation: The Regenerative Poultry Producers ProjectFlower Hill Institute 

  • Nick Hernandez (Lakota) of Makoce Agriculture Development, Inc., on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, serves as a leader and innovator, helping find solutions to increase access to fresh, healthy foods as well as opportunities for Tribal producers.  
  • Hernandez has utilized the Meat and Poultry Processing Technical Assistance (MPPTA) to create a mobile poultry processing unit. 

Tribe builds thriving olive oil businessICT News 

  • The renowned lush countryside wineries of the Napa Valley are close to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation reservation in northern California, but the Tribe has other plans for their agricultural ventures.  
  • The Tribe has grown olives and produced award-winning extra virgin olive oil in an impressive 14,000-square-foot mill facility, resulting in a thriving enterprise known as Séka Hills Olive Mill & Tasting Room. 

Tribal approach to food could change relationship to land in WisconsinMilwaukee Sentinel Journal 

  • What began as an experiment between Oneida families has turned into a robust co-op of growers that even shared the stage with Willy Nelson during Farm Aid.  
  • Lea Zeise, who co-founded Ohe·láku in 2016, stated that the difference between how Indigenous people approach the land and the typical American farming approach — maximizing yield, prioritizing profit, and a “go big or get out” mentality — has become evident to both Tribal leaders and an increasing number of outsiders. 

Native News Weekly (November 12, 2023): D.C. BriefsNative News Online 

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will present new resources at the White House Tribal Youth Summit in 2023 to encourage Native American youth to learn about Indigenous foodways and knowledge. These resources will also highlight career opportunities at the USDA and beyond. 
  • “Sovereignty Gardens” follows the adventures of Stompy the Buffalo and his friend Bran through animation and puppetry, featuring appearances by prominent figures from science and Indigenous culture. To produce this animated series, the USDA Office of Tribal Relations collaborated with Dr. Lee Francis (Pueblo of Laguna). 

New Program to Support Native American Producers With Climate-Smart GrazingAgFax 

  • A new initiative launched by the Farm Journal Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) will assist Native American cattle farmers and ranchers in implementing climate-smart grazing practices. 

Spotlighting Native American CuisineTotal Food 

  • Phoenix’s KAI restaurant offers a creative fusion of history and Native American culture. Located in the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, the restaurant overlooks the Gila River Indian Community and the Komatke Mountain Range. 
  • In order to tell the story of the Akimal O’otham and Pee Posh peoples while showcasing the local culture and history, KAI celebrates Native American cuisine with a global flair. They fully immerse their guests in Southwestern cuisine by showcasing local farmers and artisans through collaborative partnerships. 

Barbie introduces Wilma Mankiller doll, honoring Cherokee Nation’s 1st female principal chiefABC News  

    • To coincide with National Native American Heritage Month, Barbie is honoring Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, with a new doll. 
    • The doll features bright blue-ribbon skirt, with the four colors representing the four cardinal directions.