|On Thursday December 20, 2018, President Trump signed H.R. 2 – Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 – better known as the “Farm Bill” into law. The 5-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill includes important gains in traditional food production, nutrition access, and agriculture infrastructure development for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes and Tribal communities. As NIHB reported last week, significant Tribal provisions in the Farm Bill include:
· Expansion of Tribal 638 self-governance authorities to administer the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
· Establishment of a Tribal Advisory Committee within the Office of Tribal Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
· Support for Tribal parity and inclusion in USDA Rural Development initiatives, including programs around broadband access
For more information on the Tribal Provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report, click here.
As a member of the Native Farm Bill Coalition, NIHB has long advocated for increased investment in food and nutrition programs in Indian Country that support Tribal sovereignty and revitalize traditional food systems. The 2018 Farm Bill delivers on many of these policy priorities by strengthening existing Tribal food programs and empowering more Native farmers to market and sell Native foods.
Unfortunately, the final Farm Bill did not include a provision to expand Tribal self-governance authorities to operate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which was another top priority for the Native Farm Bill Coalition and NIHB. A bill to allow Tribal administration of SNAP was introduced earlier this year, and while it did not make it into the final bill, NIHB remains deeply engaged on this issue and will continue to advocate for its passage.
While stricter work requirements for SNAP were not included in the final bill, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced today that the agency will be publishing a proposed rule on the Federal Register to tighten work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries who are able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). NIHB is closely monitoring this process to ensure that any such changes to SNAP operations do not lead to less access and eligibility for AI/ANs.
For more information about the USDA announcement, click here
To read the proposed rule, click here