Intertribal Agriculture Council Executive Director Praises Appointment of Members to the USDA Council for Native American Farming and Ranching
I was pleased to receive this statement in support of Secretary Vilsack’s appointment of members to the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching (CNAFR) from Ross Racine Executive Director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council.
“The addition of CNAFR to the USDA available tools should provide much needed Native American input to the Department policies, rules and program delivery. The CNAFR represents a diverse geographical group of individuals which in turn represents the diversity of Native American agriculture and natural resources. In addition, I foresee the CNAFR providing an additional sounding board for Tribes and individual Indian producers as barriers are identified and are in need of address to facilitate Native American participation in the vast array of USDA programs and services. CNAFR increases the Native American focus on Indian agriculture and increases the number of individuals pursuing positive change thus increasing Indian participation in USDA programs. CNAFR is another step USDA is taking to insure Native Americans have full opportunity to utilized programs and services to improve the quality of life on our Reservations.”
The Committee was appointed as part of the Keepseagle settlement. Members will advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation for Native American farmers and ranchers.
The Council will suggest changes to Farm Service Agency (FSA) regulations and also provide internal guidance or propose measures that would promote the participation of Native American farmers and ranchers in all other USDA programs and support government-to-government relations between USDA and tribal governments. It is a discretionary advisory committee established under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, in furtherance of the settlement agreement.
Those appointed to the Council include:
Gilbert Harrison, Rancher, (Navao Nation), Shiprock, N.M.
Henry Holder, Farmer/Rancher, (Choctaw Nation), Soper, Okla.
Michael Jandreau, Tribal Chairman, (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe) Lower Brule, S.D.
Gerald Lunak, Natural Resources Director, (Blackfeet Nation), Cut Bank, Mont.
Jerry McPeak, Farmer/Rancher and State Legislator, (Muscogee Nation), Warner, Okla.
Lance Morgan, CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc., (Winnebago Tribe of Neb.), Winnebago, Neb.
Angela Sandstol, Natural Resources and Conservation official, (Native Tribe of Tyonek), Tyonek, Alaska
Edward Soza, Farmer/Rancher, (Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians), Banning, Calif.
Mary Thompson, Farmer/Rancher, (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), Cherokee, N.C.
Sarah Vogel, Civil Rights Attorney and former Agricultural Commissioner for North Dakota, Bismarck, N.D.
Mark Wadsworth, Natural Resources/Range Management, (Shoshone-Bannock Tribes), Blackfoot, Idaho
Four (4) USDA officials are also appointed to the Council:
Dr. Joe Leonard, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights;
Janie Simms Hipp (Chickasaw Nation), Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Tribal Relations;
Bruce Nelson, Administrator, Farm Service Agency;
Chris Beyerhelm, Director, Farm Loan Programs, Farm Service Agency;
Members of the Council are appointed for two-year terms by the Secretary.
According to their website, “IAC was founded in 1987 to pursue and promote the conservation, development and use of our agricultural resources for the betterment of our people. Land-based agricultural resources are vital to the economic and social welfare of many Native American and Alaskan Tribes. The harmonies of man, soil, water, air, vegetation and wildlife that collectively make-up the American Indian agriculture community, influence our emotional and spiritual well being.”
To learn more about the USDA Office of Tribal Relations click here.