American Indian, Native American, Alaska Native, farmers, ranchers, food regulation, food policy

Document Type



With the potential of approximately $1 trillion in spending over 10 years in rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs authorized by the Farm Bill have the ability to build and support thriving economies in rural America. Nowhere is this potential greater, or needed, than in rural Tribal communities. This paper will examine why the unique circumstances of Tribal governments, individual Native American food producers, and Tribal citizens necessitate changes in several USDA programs to serve Indian Country. Further, it will review several policy changes in various titles of the next Farm Bill reauthorization that will help empower Tribal governments and individual Native food producers to utilize the full breadth of opportunities the Farm Bill offers and allow USDA to invest in Indian Country. This includes the ability to develop and expand Tribal infrastructure, utilities, broadband, water systems, and community buildings like hospitals and fire stations; provide the means for Native agriculture businesses to thrive; and continue to address and improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives supporting he already great work happening in Natives communities surrounding food and agriculture. Finally, this paper will discuss how improving the Farm Bill programs for Indian Country will help bolster our work to achieve the truest form of sovereignty: feeding ourselves in our own foods systems with our own foods.