In spite of notable efforts on the part of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and others, American Indians continue to be one of the most underrepresented groups in the Census of Agriculture. The number of American Indian producers participating in the Census has increased tremendously since the questionnaire became the responsibility of the USDA in 1997, and especially since 2007 when every American Indian farm and ranch began reporting individually. But we still have a lot of work to do to get everyone represented in the data.
Indian Country is faced with many challenges created by policy – some of which was created without our input. When federal, state, and local farm policy and programs are contemplated, NASS data are what policymakers reference to inform their decisions. Programs developed based on crops grown, conservation practices used, and even agri-finance opportunities can all be adversely affected if we don’t tell our story through participation in the Ag Census. If we, as a community, do not fill out the Census of Agriculture, the data will not reflect our numbers or our needs and that could have a negative economic impact on our communities.
A stark example of this adverse impact lies in the 2012 Census data which showed that the 56,092 farms and ranches operated by 71,947 Native Americans sold a total of $3.24 billion in ag products raised on 57.3 million acres. The average size of a farm or ranch operated by Native Americans (1,021 acres) was over 200 percent larger than the national farm average (434 acres) while receiving only 67 percent ($6,698) of the amount of farm program payments received by others ($9,925). When you contemplate the per acre disparity, you can clearly see the reason we need to be more active.
Another example of the importance of the Ag Census is demonstrated by what it doesn’t count. As a result of the failure to recognize subsistence production, tens of thousands of our Alaskan Native relatives go totally uncounted. As a result, there is virtually no mention of subsistence agriculture in federal farm policy.
The Census of Agriculture aims to be a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and their operators, and remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data available at the state, county, and Tribal level. Embrace the opportunity to be heard. Take advantage of one of the important ways to help our communities. Your response will provide data that will absolutely be used to make decisions on our behalf, like funding for loans, conservation efforts, disaster relief (e.g. drought), and education.
The future is ours to shape. It is not too late to complete your 2017 Census of Agriculture. The paper questionnaire is due by June 15. However, the Ag Census can be completed online at www.agcensus.usda.gov through July. For questions about or assistance with your form, call (888) 424-7828.
Department is Partnering with Native Community Development Financial Institutions
WASHINGTON, May 31, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is launching a pilot program to increase homeownership opportunities on Tribal lands.
“To thrive, rural America needs a creative and forward-thinking partner in USDA,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is harnessing innovation so we can be a better, more effective partner to Tribal communities in building their futures.”
USDA is partnering with two Native Community Development Financial Institutions (NCDFIs) that have extensive experience working in Native American communities. The Department will loan $800,000 each to Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial and to Four Bands Community Fund. The organizations will relend the money to eligible homebuyers for mortgages on South Dakota and some North Dakota Tribal trust lands. Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial and Four Bands Community Fund also will service the mortgage loans after they are made. USDA is providing the funding through the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program.
Each NCDFI will contribute $200,000 for mortgages in the pilot program.
USDA has helped nearly 4 million rural residents purchase homes since passage of the Housing Act of 1949. However, homeownership rates on Tribal lands historically have been significantly lower than those for other communities.
Both NCDFIs have deep ties to the local communities and will be able to reach potential homebuyers more effectively than USDA and other lenders. Mazaska Owecaso Otipit Financial is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and creates homeownership opportunities for the members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Four Bands Community Fund, headquartered in Eagle Butte, S.D., provides financial products to businesses as well as home mortgages in South Dakota and North Dakota. Part of its service area includes the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Karli Moore, a master’s degree student in agricultural economics in the U of A’s Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, won the national Impromptu Public Speaking contest at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Moore, a Native American member of the Lumbee Tribe from Red Springs, North Carolina, is in her first year at the U of A and topped seven other finalists for the MANRRS title.
Karli Moore, center with award, and the U of A contingent at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences annual meeting, including Bumpers College dean Deacue Fields III (left), and agricultural economics and agribusiness associate professor and graduate program coordinator Daniel Rainey (second from left).
Contestants drew a topic out of a hat, and had 20 minutes to use the internet or any other source to prepare a two- to four-minute speech. Each speech was followed by a three-minute Q&A with the judges. Topics could be anything related to agriculture.
Moore drew “Several medicinal based plants have been documented to improve human health. Choose one and explain the current understood benefits and general response to plants as medicine.”
“I freaked out when I got medicinal plants,” said Moore. “I thought ‘what am I going to say?'” My previous topic (in regionals) was GMO labeling. We talk about that all the time in class so I was a little more comfortable. One thing that helped was I knew how I wanted to structure my comments. Before I drew a topic, I drew up an outline. Having the outline helped me during the research time because I could just find information to fill the categories.”
Moore’s winning presentation was on the recent influenza epidemic, and she introduced elderberry as a possible medicinal plant.
“Indigenous peoples across the U.S. and around the world have always relied on medicinal plants,” said Moore. “We should pay more attention to that and invest in that.”
Moore qualified for finals by winning the regional competition in Oklahoma City, which included participants from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The U of A Chapter of MANRRS was one of the groups competing, and Moore topped eight others in the impromptu category to earn a spot at the national meeting.
“The MANRRS conference was an excellent opportunity,” said Moore. “There was time for networking with professionals in industry, academia and the community. I’m planning to pursue a Ph.D. (in agricultural economics) so it was wonderful have deans and all the major players in the industry there to talk to.”
MANRRS promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.
About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
This special issue draws attention to the roles and responsibilities of knowledge producers, knowledge keepers, and food systems actors in managing and enhancing access to culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods in Indigenous communities in North America. By North America, we mean all the regions and subregions, both geographic and cultural, in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the U.S.
We seek empirical, theoretical, or pedagogical contributions from academics and practitioners that inform policy and practice. We encourage manuscripts documenting interagency and/or nation-to-nation collaboration, as well as collaboration among public, nonprofit, private enterprises, and scholar/practitioner co-partners. We will also accept comparative work that includes other regions of the Global North and Global South if the comparison features a North American Indigenous community. Manuscripts closely examining processes as well as those that interrogate a failed or struggling policy, program, or project can also be very instructive. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:
Inclusion (or exclusion) of Indigenous groups in local/regional government food systems planning, policy, and governance processes.
Inclusion of Indigenous language revitalization for food system initiatives.
Preparation, adoption, and/or implementation of formal plans to strengthen Indigenous food systems through Indigenous value systems.
Focus on the role of food and traditional foods (including wild) in Indigenous sovereignty/self-determination.
Creation, modification, and/or implementation of agriculture, health, land-use, zoning, or public safety ordinances or bylaws to increase opportunities for or remove barriers to local/regional food production and/or food access in Indigenous communities.
Creation of governmental (tribal, state, and federal) incentives for Indigenous food system expansion and/or long-term resilience.
Support of or for the development community food initiatives (e.g., a shared-use kitchen, farm incubator, or farm-to-school program) in, with, and for Indigenous communities.
Plans or case studies for continued, multigenerational participation in cultural/traditional harvesting strategies at the individual, family, community, and regional levels.
The building of leadership or capacity among and with Indigenous food systems stakeholders.
Plans or case studies for the reclamation of first foods, traditional diets, and Indigenous modes of food production.
Identification of the impacts of climate change on first foods, Indigenous crops, gathering/hunting sites, and the retention of traditional knowledge.
Expanded definitions of food systems education and pedagogies that include or elevate Indigenous knowledge and value systems, and include transfer of knowledge as well as larger questions of pedagogy.
Retention of traditional values in a nontraditional but Indigenous-controlled food system.
We especially encourage emerging scholars to submit manuscripts and practitioners to submit commentaries. Additional support is available for free through JAFSCD’s Author Mentoring Program. Authors whose native language is not English should consider assistance from JAFSCD’s Consulting Editor Program. Indicate your interest via the JAFSCD query form.
This announcement can be downloaded as a PDF for posting and sharing!
In addition, JAFSCD welcomes articles at any time on any subject related to the development aspects of agriculture and food systems. See the JAFSCD website at www.FoodSystemsJournal.org.
Dr. Annie Lorrie Anderson-Lazo, cultural anthropologist, Rural Coalition
Dr. Bryan Brayboy, Director, Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University and Editor in Chief, JAIE
Dr. Janie Hipp, Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law
Dr. Elizabeth Hoover, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Brown University
Dr. John Phillips, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) and First Americans Land-Grant Consortium (FALCON)
Dr. Christopher Wharton, Director, Food Systems Transformation Initiative at Arizona State University
USDA Webinars Regarding the Community Connect Grant Program
April 5, 1 pm EDT
April 10, 1 pm EDT
The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on the Community Connect Grant Program. These webinars will inform participants about the major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and will provide detailed guidance on how to submit a successful application. There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions about putting together an application.
On March 15, the Community Connect Grant Program’s Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) was published in the Federal Register. A copy can be found here.
You can register for the April 5 session here and the April 10 session here. We recommend you do this registration early and run a system check to ensure quick access on the day of the webinar.
The Claneil Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2019 Emerging Leaders Fund cohort. We are looking for emerging, high-potential nonprofit organizations in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions led by executive directors who think outside of the box and have a thirst for learning.
Each grantee receives $240,000 in unrestricted funding over four years, and is eligible to request up to $10,000 in professional development funds to support its designated leader(s). Ultimately, 2-3 candidates will be selected for the 2019 cohort.
What we are looking for:
Organizations have typically been in existence between 3 – 5 years, and have budgets of less than $1 million. Organizations should be working on the “cutting edge” of one or more of the following issues: education, hunger & nutrition/food system, health & human services, environment.
It only takes a few minutes to nominate!
Simply email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) the leader’s name, organization, location, and a few sentences explaining the reason for your nomination by March 15. If you happen to know the year the organization was founded and its current organizational budget, please include that as well. Self-nominations are not accepted.
Historically, the Claneil Foundation has believed in the power of innovation in the non-profit world as a catalyst for social change. The Emerging Leaders Fund was created to support the critical role that executive directors play in launching and growing early-stage organizations. The Foundation recognizes that these individuals and their organizations face unique internal and external challenges: they devote time and energy to the everyday demands of building an organization while developing new thinking, trying untested approaches and cultivating broader networks.
To provide critical support for these leaders and their organizations, the Foundation awards a four-year unrestricted general operating grant totaling $240,000 to each recipient’s organization and access to a thoughtful, close-knit support network of peers. In addition, each grantee organization has access to $10,000 in professional development funds to support its designated leader(s).
Recipients are selected based on their creative vision, leadership capacity, potential for impact, and commitment to innovation and learning in one or more of the following issue areas: education, hunger & nutrition/food system, health & human services, environment. This grant program is focused primarily on early stage organizations located in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Grantees are selected based on nominations from a diverse pool of nominators who represent the foundation, nonprofit and business sectors. We typically receive 70 – 80 nominations each year.
How to nominate
We are accepting nominations for the 2019 cohort until March 15, 2018.
If you have an organization that you would like to nominate, simply send an email to email@example.com, and include the name of the organization, its leader(s), location, budget (if known) and a few sentences explaining the reason for your nomination.
We do not accept self-nominations. We ask that all nominations remain confidential.
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has just published a new report on Native food sovereignty assessment efforts, as well as four new videos dealing with food sovereignty, ranching and agricultural issues.
The report, titled Food Sovereignty Assessments: A Tool to Grow Healthy Native Communities, details some of the outcomes and lessons learned from a project that funded numerous Native American communities in conducting food sovereignty assessments, with the goal of collecting valuable localized data, creating action plans, and eventually moving toward more control over their local food systems for improved health and nutrition, and for the economic well-being of those communities. It is available as a free download from the First Nations Knowledge Center (under the “Nourishing Native Foods & Health” section) at https://firstnations.org/knowledge-center/foods-health. (Please note that if you don’t already have one, you will need to create a free online account to download the report.) The report was authored by First Nations Vice President Raymond Foxworth, with data-collection assistance from consultants John Hendrix, Michelle Desjarlais and Joseph Madera.
In 2016 and 2017, First Nations provided 39 grants totaling nearly $640,000 to Native communities. This allowed these communities to develop and implement efforts to assess their local food systems and establish forward-looking plans designed to transform the future of those systems. Much of their work was conducted using First Nations’ Food Sovereignty Assessment Tool (FSAT), which was first developed in 2004 and significantly updated in 2014. Food sovereignty assessments have been a starting point for many communities as they work to develop mechanisms to increase local food-system control. A community food sovereignty assessment is a community-developed and community-led process for assessing local food-system control. A food sovereignty assessment puts Native communities in the driver’s seat, as it empowers them to identify their own goals, methods and process for data collection, analysis and strategy development.
Some of the grantees specifically featured in the publication are the Chahta Foundation in Durant, Oklahoma; the Nisqually Indian Tribe in Olympia, Washington; the Nebraska Indian Community College in Macy, Nebraska; and the Seneca Nation of Indians in Irving, New York. Most of the participating organizations (56%) were Native-controlled nonprofits or grassroots community groups, while 44% were tribes or tribal departments.
The four new videos, posted on the First Nations YouTube Channel, deal with food sovereignty, ranching and agricultural issues. They feature current and past grantees of First Nations in Arizona, New Mexico and Washington. They were produced for First Nations by Frybread Productions.
“As part of our work under our Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative and other efforts, we think it’s important to document and publicly highlight some of the successful projects that are making good strides in Indian Country,” said A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations’ Director of Programs for Native Agriculture and Food Systems. “We think these efforts and grantees exemplify some of the great work that is happening at the grassroots level in Native food systems, agriculture, youth programs and general community and economic development.”
The videos are:
Nahata Dziil 14R Ranch, located on the rural Navajo Nation, utilizes community, land and long-cultivated ranching skills through a cooperative business model to provide local beef to community and businesses that serve the Navajo Nation. Where few businesses exist, 14R Ranch has managed to create and maintain a sustainable and responsive business model. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/pchdqKon9Yg.
Ndée Bikíyaa – The People’s Farm, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, seeks to reconnect the community to its food, traditional lifestyles and, ultimately, a healthier mindset. The People’s Farm is a mentorship organization that is growing young Native American farmers and challenging notions of Native American health. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/2gVDv6NN1mQ.
The Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project is reconnecting food and diets to value systems. The project focuses on activities ranging from breastfeeding to gathering traditional foods to improving diets. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/aDjSLxHoo5E.
The Zuni Youth Enrichment Project focuses on connecting youth to movement and food. It challenges young people to think critically about building community through action and food choice. This video can be found at https://youtu.be/0R9Qo9hTXnU.
About First Nations Development Institute
For more than 37 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
Adae Romero-Briones, First Nations Director of Programs, Native Agriculture & Food Systems
Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI) Director Janie Simms Hipp addressed the United Nations Department of Economic and Social AffairsInternational Expert Group on Jan. 24, 2018. Her 30-minute presentation covered topics including the impact of the upcoming Farm Bill on Native communities, the IFAI Model Food Code Project, engagement of Native youth in agriculture, the role of US federal feeding programs, and traditional foods.
We are excited to announce our 5th annual Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit at the University of Arkansas School of Law!
The 2018 Summit is open to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth, ages 15-18 (including recently graduated high school seniors).
Interested participants should apply now to attend the 2018 Native Youth in Food and Agriculture Leadership Summit, which will be held June 7th-14th in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the University of Arkansas School of Law, home of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. Some travel assistance may become available; participants will receive information about this after they are accepted into the program.
This year’s Summit will build on previous Summits, but will be more intensive. The 2018 Summit will be a skills-development focused event that will give attendees an opportunity to do a deep dive in a particular area of food and agricultural production or policy. These four subject matter areas are:
1) Agricultural Business and Finance;
2) Conservation Practices and Planning for Agricultural Production;
3) Agricultural & Food Law and Policy; and
4) Nutrition and Health.
While at the Summit, participants will be led by experts in these areas and will spend their time at the event learning and working on these topics with a small group of their peers. In addition to learning the critical skills they need to be the next generation of Indian Country food and ag leaders in each of these topic areas, all students attending will also receive a full Food Safety Modernization Act training on the Produce Safety Rule during their time at the Summit.
The priority deadline for applying to the 2018 Summit is March 1, 2018. Priority students will be allocated additional points in the selection process.
The final deadline for applying to the 2018 Summit is March 15, 2018.
Click the links above to fill out the application online. Questions about the Summit? Contact Erin Shirl on the IFAI staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 479.575.6572 or 479.575.5128.
The Summit 2018 staff can’t wait to read your applications!
We encourage you to apply if you:
are American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian;
are between the ages of 15 and 18;
are passionate about food and agricultural production, and
have the courage to lead their Tribes and communities into the future,
then we want to see you at the 2018 Summit!
Spaces are limited, so PLEASE APPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
Cost to Attend
All food, lodging, instructional materials and field trip costs will be provided. Depending on the number of students, some travel scholarships will also be provided. However, we need applications as soon as possible to plan for travel needs.
June 7-14, 2018 (this includes travel dates)
Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA, Southern Region Extension Risk Management Education Program
About the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative: The initiative enhances health and wellness in tribal communities by advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. The initiative empowers tribal governments, farmers, ranchers and food businesses by providing strategic planning and technical assistance; by creating new academic and professional education programs in food systems and agriculture; and by increasing student enrollment in land grant universities in food and agricultural related disciplines. For more information, visit www.indigenousfoodandag.com.
The Ag Census shows the importance and value of agriculture on reservation lands and provides the public and Tribal officials with crop and livestock information. It is important that every producer be reflected in the data so that no operation or community is underserved in the years to come.
“If we do not get counted accurately, the decision-makers, the policymakers, Congress isn’t going to have the right information to put together the programs that best serve our farm industry.”
– Zach Ducheneaux, Intertribal Agriculture Council
WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2018 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation’s farmers and ranchers that the deadline for the 2017 Census of Agriculture is one week away. Producers should respond online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail by February 5. The online questionnaire offers new timesaving features.
The Census of Agriculture is the only NASS questionnaire mailed to every producer across the country and is conducted just once every five years. The Census provides a complete account of the industry, its changes, and emerging trends. Census data are widely used, often relied on when developing the Farm Bill and other farm policy, and when making decisions about disaster relief, community planning, technology development, and more.
“We are asking producers to help show our nation the value and importance of American agriculture,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We need to hear from all of our farmers and ranchers, no matter how big or how small their part of agriculture. The Census is their voice, their future, their opportunity. Please respond now.”
Everyone who received the 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire is to return it, even if they are not currently farming. The first few qualifying questions on the form will determine whether completing the entire questionnaire is necessary. After the February 5 deadline, NASS will begin following-up with additional mailings, e-mails, phone calls, and personal appointments. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers and ranchers are asked to complete their Census as soon as possible.
“It is important that every producer respond to the Census of Agriculture so that they are represented and reflected in the data,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “These statistics can directly impact producers for years. Without their input, our hardworking farmers and ranchers risk being underserved.”
The Census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Producers are required by law to respond; NASS is required by the same federal law to keep all information confidential, use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation.
For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit www.agcensus.usda.gov or call (800) 727-9540.
NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. We invite you to provide occasional feedback on our products and services. Sign up at http://bit.ly/NASS_Subscriptions and look for “NASS Data User Community.”