Policy Brief – November 27, 2023

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Policy Brief Summary


We have added a new section to the Policy Brief featuring nominations to advisory boards, committees, and awards. There were no Congressional hearings last week of note given the holiday, but there is a Senate Agriculture Hearing on nominations for the Commodity Future Trading Commission and Rural Development this week. Tomorrow, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is holding a Tribal consultation in Anchorage, Alaska to discuss Contract Support Costs for Tribes with Self-Governance Funding Arrangements. In Tribal news, there were many articles highlighting Indigenous chefs and food sovereignty programs by Tribes in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas. 

Congressional updates   

Looking Back

Congress was not in session last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday 

Looking Ahead


Hearing: Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Thursday, Nov. 30th at 10 a.m. EST 

Topic: Nomination Hearing 

Nominees: Basil Ivanhoe Gooden to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development; Summer Mersinger  to be a Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission 

Executive Branch and Federal Agency Actions: 


Registrations remain open for the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit coming up December 6-7 at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.

Nomination opportunities: 


What is the nomination for: USDA Plant Variety Protection Board 

Description: The PVPB advises the Secretary on rules and regulations to administer the Plant Variety Act, on appeals to decisions by the Plant Variety Protection Office, and on requests for emergency public-interest compulsory licenses. It consists of 14 members, representing farmers, the seed industry, trade and professional associations, and public and private research institutions who sit for 2-year terms. Meetings are held as needed. 

Deadline for submission: January 15, 2024 

What is the nomination for? EPA Animal Agriculture and Water Quality Subcommittee 

Description: This subcommittee sits under the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee. It will provide recommendations on improving implementation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permitting program to reduce nutrients and water pollutants from Animal Feeding Operations. Subcommittee representatives can be from Tribes, states, the agricultural industry, environmental, community, and public health groups, local governments, and research institutions. 

Deadline for submission? January 2, 2024 

Regulatory/Rulemaking actions:


Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) 

Action: Comment Request Regarding Collection of Information on Generic Clearance for Stakeholder Feedback and Surveys; Comment submission deadline by December 26, 2023.  

Why it matters: FNS is seeking generic clearance to be able to obtain feedback from state, local and/or Tribal agencies and implementers, and program participants to contribute directly to the improvement and planning of research studies, program changes, regulatory activities, guidance, outreach and/or training activities. 

Posted: Week of November 27 

Agency: USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) 

Action: Comment Request Regarding Collection of Information on the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program and General Disaster Assistance; Comment submission deadline by December 18, 2023. 

Why it matters: FSA is seeking comments about the utility and necessity of collecting information pertaining to two of its programs: (1) initial report and progress reports quarterly and annually for the Increasing Land Capital, and Market Access Program; and (2) information such as nature and extent of production losses to determine eligibility for General Disaster Assistance.  

Posted: Week of November 20 

Agency: Department of Interior (DOI) 

Action: Notice and Request for Comments Regarding Updates on DOI’s Environmental Justice Strategic Plan; Written comments by December 15, 2023; virtual listening sessions on November 30th (two sessions) and December 1st 

Why it matters: Draft Strategic Goal 2 pertains to engagement with Tribal Nations – Engage early and often with communities and Tribal Nations to support meaningful involvement, equitable decisions, inform the Department’s activities, and proactively address/involve environmental justice concerns. There are four draft objectives attached to this strategic goal.  

Posted: Week of November 20 

Agency: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) 

Action: Final Rule on Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP); Comments submission deadline by December 18, 2023 

Why it matters: USDA is utilizing CCC funds to implement the RAPP cost-share program to address the challenges related to trade impacting U.S. farmers and the international community. RAPP Participants may receive assistance for either generic or brand promotion activities as well as assistance to conduct activities to address existing or potential non-tariff barriers to trade. Potential recipients are: (1) a nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organization; (2) a nonprofit State Regional Trade Group (SRTG); (3) a U.S. agricultural cooperative; or (4) a state agency. Specific program requirements and details for applying for assistance under the RAPP will be set forth in the Notice of Funding Opportunity announced through the Grants.gov website. 

Posted: Week of November 20  

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

Action: Request for Nominations for the Subcommittee on Animal Agriculture and Water Quality (AAWQ); Nomination deadline by January 2, 2024 

Why it matters: EPA is currently seeking nominations for members to serve on the AAWQ subcommittee, whose appointment lasts for an estimated term of 12 to 18 months. EPA is seeking nominations from several stakeholders including states and Tribes and is specifically seeking nominees who have demonstrated experience with the operations of animal agriculture practices and/or the impacts of animal feeding operations on public health and/or water quality. The goal of the AAWQ subcommittee will be to provide recommendations that will inform the Agency’s decisions regarding how to improve the implementation of topic areas such as the Clean Water Act (CWA).  

Posted: Week of November 20 

Tribal Consultation and Listening Sessions:


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 from 1-4 p.m.  AST 

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:


Chef sharing tradition, passion for cooking on the Acoma puebloKOAT 

  • Chef Brandon Vlado, Acoma Pueblo Nation, is the chef and tour guide for the Sky City Cultural Center in Acoma, NM. 
  • Chef Turtle, as he is affectionately known, aims to raise cultural awareness through his traditional foods. 

Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska Plans Center of Regenerative Native AgricultureProgressive Farmer 

  • The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska embarks on regenerative agriculture endeavors after a host of dead bees inspired Tribal citizens to find ways of being better stewards of the land and all its inhabitants while conducting agricultural production. 
  • The Tribe is moving toward more soil-health practices such as no-till, cover crops, and growing at least some crops organically. The Tribe also developed close to 100 bee hives and markets products under the Ioway Bee Farm label including lotions, soaps, and candles, as well as honey.  

Climate Report Shows Drought Impacts in Southwest — ICT News 

  • The Southwest is getting drier due to climate change, and this means that changes must occur in all sectors including agriculture.  
  • The assessment’s authors say the latest report has an increased focus on climate justice compared to previous reports. In the Southwest, the report highlights drought-related health risks for Native American communities. Heather Tanana, a law professor at the University of California Irvine who focuses on tribal water infrastructure and Indigenous health policy, helped author the report. 
  • “In the Southwest, a lot of Native American homes don’t have infrastructure to get clean running water or sanitation,” she said. “The climate impacts of drought or flooding in an area where infrastructure is not sufficient is just going to make those inequities worse.” 

 Returning the ‘three sisters’ to Native American farmsICT News  

  • Today, three-quarters of Native Americans live off reservations, mainly in urban areas; nationwide, many Native American communities lack access to healthy food, regardless of location. 
  • A new research project called “Returning the Three Sisters” explores what it means to be a responsible caretaker of the land from the perspective of people who have been balancing agricultural production with sustainability since time immemorial. 

Vanishing salmon changing life on the Yukon RiverICT News 

  • The Yukon, the fourth-longest river in North America, has been home to salmon for as long as there have been people living along its banks.  
  • Because of the number of rivers, Alaska has earned the distinction of being one of the last refuges for wild salmon, which once migrated thousands of miles each year to breed in pure rivers and lakes. However, the number of salmon in the Yukon has drastically decreased as the temperatures in the Bering Sea and western Alaska continue to rise. 
  • For the better part of three fishing seasons, thousands of Yup’ik and Athabascan fishers have been banned from catching the fish that once kept their families fed. 

California’s Central Valley Chinook are getting lost on their way home (Losing the scent) High Country News  

  • Over the last 200 years, California has changed, and the Chinook has changed along with it, but now the changes are coming too fast for the Chinook to adapt. 
  • Hatcheries are causing a huge problem for the salmon they are spawning to increase numbers. It is causing them not to be able to find their way to the spawning grounds.  

Thanksgiving celebrates indigenous food for Chef Walks FirstChicago Tribune 

  • Through Jessica Pamonicutt’s (AKA Chef Walk’s First) business, Ketapanen Kitchen, which she owns with her husband, Tony Garcia, and her mentor Chef John Abels, Chef Walks First is busy giving presentations about Indigenous foods up to three times a day, as well as traveling throughout the Midwest to set up pop-up restaurants and cater private events. 

At the Allison Inn & Spa, Siletz Chef Jack Strong Explores Native FoodEater Portland 

  • For many years, Chef Jack Strong immersed himself in the Native American cuisine of the American Southwest. He co-authored the cookbook The New Native American Cuisine and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for his work at Kai. However, Strong is not a native of the Southwest; rather, as a member of the Siletz Tribe, he grew up in Oregon. 
  • Chef Strong serves as the senior chef at the Allison Inn, and focuses storytelling through his dishes, concentrating on the Indigenous foodways of the Pacific Northwest. 

Indigenous Food Lab highlights native cuisineFox9 

  • In addition to providing food for the acclaimed restaurant Owamni, Minneapolis’s Indigenous Food Lab also supports local companies. 
  • Inside the Global Food Market, the one-stop-shop that is the Indigenous Food Lab, allows the public to support multiple Native-owned businesses in one convenient location. 

‘Food is holistic.’ Indigenous Arizonans discuss food sovereigntyPhoenix New Times 

  • Thalia Roessel, a member of the Navajo Nation, was not as interested in food in her youth, but that has all changed. Roessel’s current food journey centers on her Indigenous roots. 
  • Roessel is the owner of a business called Scone On, with recipes that include her native blue corn, piñon, and sumac.  

Oklahoma Tribes Retaking Control Of Their Food SovereigntyNews9 

  • Tribes across Oklahoma are employing food sovereignty efforts, including the Osage Nation, Cherokee Nation, and more.  
  • The Osage Nation’s Director of Food Sovereignty and Natural Resources, Harleigh Moore Wilson, highlights the Osage Nation’s efforts, like establishing a meat processing facility to address the lack of food access during the coronavirus pandemic, and poses the question, “Can you truly be a sovereign nation without being able to feed your people?”