On March 31, 2014, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the attached notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER announcing the re-establishment of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching and soliciting nominations for membership on the Council. USDA seeks “a diverse group of members representing a broad spectrum of persons interested in providing suggestions and ideas on how USDA can tailor its farm programs to meet the needs of Native American farmers and ranchers.” Nominations are to be submitted on or before May 15, 2014.
Responsibilities. The Council is a discretionary advisory Council, established under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, in furtherance of the settlement agreement in Keepseagle v. Vilsack. The purpose of the Council is:
1) to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on issues related to the participation of Native American farmers and ranchers in USDA farm loan programs
2) to transmit recommendations concerning any changes to Farm Service Agency regulations or internal guidance or other measures that would eliminate barriers to program participation for Native American farmers and ranchers
3) to examine methods of maximizing the number of new farming and ranching opportunities created through the farm loan program through enhanced extension and financial literacy services
4) to examine methods of encouraging intergovernmental cooperation to mitigate the effects of land tenure and probate issues on the delivery of USDA farm loan programs
5) to evaluate other methods of creating new farming or ranching opportunities for Native American producers
Composition. The Council is to be composed of 15 members, 11 of whom will be chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture from among the nominees, the remaining four will be from USDA including: 1) the Director, Office of Tribal Relations; 2) the Farm Service Agency Administrator; 3) the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; and 4) the Deputy Administrator for Farm Loan Programs (or their designee).
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the USDA’s solicitation of nominations for membership on the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching.