Policy Brief Summary:
The House of Representatives remains without a speaker, but Senate Banking holds a subcommittee hearing on CDFIs, specifically hosting a representative from Native CDFI Oweesta as a witness to these organizations’ roles in community development opportunities.
The White House announces $9 million in affordable housing opportunities through Native CDFIs to improve housing opportunities in Indian Country. In Federal Register items, USDA’s RMA, FNS and FSA all have postings closing out soon. BIA has two upcoming in-person consultations for contract support costs issues with self-governance Tribes.
In Tribal agriculture news, Native Farm Bill Coalition priorities garner coverage; USDA’s partnership with IFAI on food safety training gets highlighted; former USDA General Counsel Janie Simms Hipp is embarking on a new job after leaving the Department; and Indigenous People’s Day receives wide coverage.
There were no scheduled Congressional hearings during the week of October 2 relevant to Tribal food and agriculture.
Hearing: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development – October 17, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. CST
Topic: How Community Development Financial Institutions Promote Housing and Economic Opportunity
- Ms. Julia Nelmark, Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation
- Ms. Renay Dossman, Neighborhood Development Center
- Ms. Chrystel Cornelius, Oweesta Corporation – Oweesta is the longest standing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities.
Executive branch orders and federal agency actions:
- White House Announces New Actions on Homeownership –The White House Press Room
- The White House has released a new report about homeownership and the need for expansion, including Indian Country where lack of homeownership opportunities continue to exist.
- The lack of affordable housing and credit access on Tribal jurisdictions continues to hamper Tribal governments and their citizens’ ability to begin or expand farm and food operations.
Agency: USDA Risk Management Agency
Action: Submission for OMB Review: Comment Request by November 3, 2023
Why it matters: The Risk Management Agency is looking for feedback whether the data elements (e.g., acreage and yields) they require farmers to provide when applying for Area Risk Protection Insurance (ARPI) are necessary for the functions such as: (1) proper performance of the functions of the agency; (2) accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden; and (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of information collected.
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Posted: Week of October 9th
Agency: USDA Farm Services Agency
Action: Notice of Funds Availability; 2021 Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) Phase 2; Effective September 27, 2023
Why it matters: For each eligible livestock producer with an approved 2021 LFP application who previously received an ELRP Phase 1 payment, FSA will issue an ELRP Phase 2 payment to assist with losses in the value of winter forage from the deterioration of grazing cover due to a qualifying drought or wildfire during the 2021 normal grazing period, which has been exacerbated by the continued lack of precipitation. The ELRP Phase 2 payment will be equal to 20 percent of the 2021 gross ELRP Phase 1 payment Eligible livestock producers are not required to submit an application for ELRP Phase 2, however, producers must have all required supplemental forms on file with FSA to be eligible for the payment.
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Posted: Week of October 2nd
Agency: USDA Farm Services Agency
Action: Notice of Funds Availability; Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP) 2022; Effective September 27, 2023
Why it matters: ELRP 2022 will provide payments to producers who faced increased supplemental feed costs because of forage losses due to a qualifying drought or wildfire in calendar year 2022, using data already submitted to FSA through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). The ELRP 2022 payment percentage will be 90 percent for historically underserved farmers and ranchers, and 75 percent for all other producers. For a producer to be eligible for a payment based on the higher payment rate for eligible underserved farmers or ranchers, the producer must file Form CCC-860 Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification with FSA.
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Posted: Week of October 2nd
Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service
Action: Final Rule Notice for Child Nutrition Programs: Community Eligibility Provision – Increasing Options for Schools; Effective October 26, 2023
Why it matters: This final rule lowers the Identified Student Percentage (ISP) from 40% to 25%. The ISP is the percentage of enrolled students who are certified for free school meals without submitting a household application, such as those directly certified through specific Federal benefits programs (e.g., the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)). Lowering the minimum ISP will give States and schools greater flexibility to offer meals to all enrolled students at no cost when financially viable.
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Posted: Week of October 2nd
Tribal Consultation/Listening Sessions:
Title of Event: Bureau of Indian Affairs- Contract Support Costs (CSC) for Tribes with Self- Governance Funding Agreements
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. 1, 1:30-3 p.m. PST
Location: Pechanga Resort Casino 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. Temecula, CA 92592
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
Supreme and Circuit Court Decisions:
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota:
Chase v. Andeavor Logistics L.P. No. 1:19-cv-00143 (D.N.D, Aug. 8, 2023) (On remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit)
A pipeline company planning an operation through Tribal and allotted lands secured permission from the Tribal Nations to operate, but could not reach an agreement with individuals who owned allotted lands held in trust by the United States. The owners filed trespass and constructive trust claims against the pipeline company. The court ruled that individual Indians who are equitable owners of allotted lands held in trust by the United States may not assert a federal common law cause for action for trespass.
Native News Weekly (October 15, 2023): D.C. Briefs –Native News Online
- U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) have proposed legislation to improve Tribal visibility in priority resource concern (PRC) selection process.
- Increasing Tribal parity throughout the Farm Bill is a priority of the Native Farm Bill Coalition.
How the Farm Bill Can Help Native American Communities –Red Lake Nation News
- In this editorial, US Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) describes her work on the Farm Bill and how she aims to make the priorities and voices of Indian Country a part of the next Farm Bill.
University Organization Expands Work to Improve Food Safety Across Native American Communities –University of Arkansas
- IFAI and the USDA entered a cooperative agreement to support the development, piloting, and implementation of training regarding food distribution produce-handling needs.
- “The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative is excited to work with USDA-FNS, the Native Food and Nutrition Resource Alliance and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations to develop culturally appropriate produce safety curriculum and trainings for intertribal organizations,” said Erin Parker, executive director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.
- Trailblazing Chickasaw agriculture attorney and co-founder of IFAI, Janie Simms Hipp has departed her role as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept a position closer to family.
- Remaining in the agriculture sector, she now serves as the CEO and president of Native Agriculture Financial Services (NAFS). The organization was created as a new organization focused solely on lending and support for access to capital by the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF).
- Washington State’s Fish and Wildlife Commission’s draft conservation policy recognizes the need for fish and wildlife conservation, but the state did not consult the Tribal Nations. Hunters and hunting groups have also expressed their concerns with the draft policy.
- After realizing their failure to formally engage with tribes, the commission’s Big Tent Committee reached out to several tribes and to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, promising to consider their thoughts on the document—not only those covered under tribal treaty rights, but any other concerns they may have.
Inaccurate data could hinder broadband access in Indian Country – Tribal Business News
- Three Tribally-owned internet service providers (ISPs) listed several issues with the data coverage and representation of Indian country through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Maps do not provide accurate depiction of Indian Country, they could create limitations on the networks sustainability and they do not guarantee effective broadband program deployment in Tribal areas according to the piece.
- California Tribal members are reclaiming their land through vineyards and combining regenerative farming and Tribal ecological knowledge to create profitable agriculture businesses.
- The piece covers to citizens of Tribal nations who are wine producers, including Cedar Band of Paiute Indians, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and a Canadian First Nation.
- The First Lady and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently went to the Menominee Reservation where they learned about the Tribe’s forestry business through its sawmill and some of its food and agriculture programs and work.
Federal pilot project will buy local bison meat for tribal food aid –Dakota News Now
- A federal food assistance program will buy ground bison meat from the producers and incorporate it into existing food aid for low-income Tribal members in South Dakota Tribes. The contract, awarded to four producers, totals nearly $500,000.
Partnership Honors First Americans on Indigenous Peoples Day –Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust
- A new partnership has emerged between the First American’s Museum (FAM) and Shape Your Future that will highlight healthy foods and cooking traditions of Native American agriculture.
- The museum’s award-winning Citizen Potawatomi chef, Loretta Barrett Oden, will create a community garden highlighting edible Indigenous plants.
- The Native American Student Association at the University of Arkansas commemorated Indigenous People’s Day with an open-mic and a walk on the Trail of Tears located on the University of Arkansas campus.
- Eastern Band of Cherokee citizen Gaby Nagel performed songs on her flutes, mayor Lioneld Jordan read a proclamation, and Will Chaves of the Cherokee Nation spoke about the Remember the Removal Bike Ride.
- “We’re here celebrating Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Day. This is the 19th day we have celebrated on our campus. We just walked down from our student union to the historic Trail of Tears marker that’s part of our University of Arkansas campus,” said Summer Wilkie, who is the youth coordinator of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative on campus. “We had a lot of representation today from the Native American Student Association. There’s a lot of diversity in the Native American representation on our campus, so we learn a lot from one another. A lot of them are here today public speaking, representing themselves and their communities proudly and improving the visibility for Native American people on our campus and in Fayetteville.”
- Non-profit group City Year Denver spent Indigenous People’s Day assisting Spirit of the Sun, a local Indigenous farming nonprofit that empowers Native communities through their food share program.
- With the intention of feeding Indigenous elders and families in need in Colorado, Spirit of the Sun collaborates with Denver Food Rescue and Food Bank of the Rockies to organize food programs every Friday and Sunday.
- The Euchee Butterfly Farm in Northeast Oklahoma has received a $750,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to provide Indigenous producers access to departmental resources.
- The grant is for a project providing conferences, workshops and classes through the farm’s learning center.
Buffalo benefit –Wyofile
- On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, locals and tourists came together to contribute to the expansion of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative’s expanding herd.
- “We estimated we raised around enough money for around 10 bison,” said Laramie resident Kaycee Prevedel, a Sierra Club Wyoming Chapter staffer.