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To provide a unified effort to promote change in Indian Agriculture for the benefit of Indian People.

The Intertribal Agriculture Council conducts a wide range of programs designed to further the goal of improving Indian Agriculture. The IAC promotes the Indian use of Indian resources and contracts with federal agencies to maximize resources for tribal members.

URGENT: Contact the Senate Agriculture Committee Today! 

June 11, 2018

Call your senators about the Senate Farm Bill before Wednesday

This Wednesday morning, the Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to approve or reject an amendment after leadership released a bipartisan draft Farm Bill last Friday afternoon. There are some provisions in that draft Farm Bill that are good for Indian Country. But missing from Friday’s draft Farm Bill were several very important matters that Coalition members have sought for a long time. (The Native Farm Bill Coalition’s stance on the bill is available online.)

The Native Farm Bill Coalition asks tribes to immediately urge, beforeWednesday’s markup, committee members to adopt a committee amendment being championed by Senators Smith and Heitkamp on behalf of Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

The SMITH HEITKAMP “638” AMENDMENT would provide tribal Pub.L. 93-638 authority over the operation of all federally funded supplemental nutrition assistance programs. Tribal “638” administration will help restore tribal food sovereignty, and provide better food assistance to more Indian households in need. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), a new member of the Agriculture Committee, along with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) has filed a “638” amendment to do this. Please contact every member of the Committee and ask them to support the SMITH HEITKAMP “638” AMENDMENT.Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal allies have always said tribal control over tribal food programs results in the maximum benefit. Tribal self-determination has proven to always be the most cost-effective approach. Because tribes are so experienced at administering very complex federal programs and services under Pub.L. 93-638 Indian Self-Determination Act authority, it makes sense to extend “638” authority to the operation of all federally funded supplemental nutrition assistance programs. Tribes have also asked that this authority be applied to all food-related job assistance and training funds that are tied to work or training requirements. Senator Smith also introduced an identical “638” bill on the Senate floor earlier today, co-sponsored by Senators Udall (D-NM), Heitkamp (D-ND), Warren (D-MA), Baldwin (D-WI), Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Harris (D-CA).

In addition, a “SUTA” amendment may still be offered later in the Agriculture Committee by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and others, which would extend existing Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) authority to all programs and services administered by the USDA’s Office of Rural Development. First established in the 2008 Farm Bill, SUTA is available only for a handful of electricity, telecommunications, water, and sewer infrastructure programs within the Rural Utility Service. If a rural area meets the definition of “underserved”, as does most of Indian Country, its SUTA designation means it is eligible for lower interest rates, waivers of matching and credit support requirements, extended repayment plans, and funding priority. Senator Tester was unable to timely file his “SUTA” amendment because of some delays in the legislative counsel’s office. He is looking for an early opportunity to offer it since it would expand SUTA authority to all of Rural Development programs, including loans, grants, and loan guarantees that support the creation of rural jobs and small business development, community facility construction, development of rural essential services and equipment for health care, first responders, and housing assistance and community empowerment. Please contact every member of the Committee and tell them that the TESTER “SUTA” AMENDMENT deserves a chance to be considered and approved by the Committee.

Both the Smith Heitkamp “638” and Tester “SUTA” amendments have been among the top priorities of the Native Farm Bill Coalition members, and the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has been in active supporter of both efforts. Below are the phone numbers and email addresses of key aides in the offices of each of the senators on the Agriculture Committee. Call and write them today, urging their senator to vote to approve the SMITH HEITKAMP “638” amendment and to allow the TESTER “SUTA” amendment to be considered and approved.

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
202-224-4774
LD: Amber Kirchhoefer

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
202-224-2541
LD: Katelyn Conner

John Boozman (R-AK)
202-224-4843
LD: Mackensie Burt

John Hoeven (R-ND)
202-224-2551
LD: Dan Auger

Joni Ernst (R-IA)
202-224-3254
LD: Jena McNeill

Charles Grassley (R-IA)
202-224-3744
LD: James Rice

John Thune (R-SD)
202-224-2321
LD: Jessica McBride

Steve Daines (R-MT)
202-224-2651
LD: Darin Thacker

David Perdue (R-GA)
202-224-3521
LD: John Eunice

Deb Fischer (R-NE)
202-224-6551
LD: Emily Leviner

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)
202-224-5054
LD: Tim Wolverton

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
202-224-4822
LD: Emily Carwell

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
202-224-4242
LD: Erica Chabot

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
202-224-2315
LD: Jeremy Hekhuis

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
202-224-3244
LD: Anne Knapke

Michael Bennet (D-CO)
202-224-5852
LD: Brian Appel

Kristian Gillibrand (D-NY)
202-224-4451
LD: Brooke Jamison

Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
202-224-4814
LD: Katie Campbell

Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
202-224-2043
LD: Tracee Sutton

Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
202-224-6324
LD: Derek Miller

Tina Smith (D-MN)
202-224-5641
LD: Gohar Sedighi

NativeFarmBillCoalition.org

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