Earlier this month, members of the Native Farm Bill Coalition met with the offices of 32 Members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House to advocate for Indian Country’s interests in the Farm Bill.
Thanks to the many coalition members who attended, the fly-in was the largest concerted in-person effort ever mounted by Indian Country to impact policymakers’ thinking around the Farm Bill!
Policy update

Last Friday, the U.S. House failed to pass its version of the Farm Bill on a 198-213 vote. The House Farm Bill includes several provisions the Coalition advocated for, such as moving nutrition programs to regional models to better support local producers; allowing two-year carryover funding for the Food Distribution Program on Indian reservations; making tribes, like states, eligible entities for Good Neighbor Authority agreements; and authorizing a Pub.L. 93-638 self-determination demonstration program to manage national forests next to existing Indian lands.
House Democrats voted against the bill because it imposes stricter work requirements on low-income recipients of food stamps and shifts money from feeding programs to state employment training programs. Meanwhile, the House Freedom Caucus withheld their votes in support of the Farm Bill unless the House agreed to vote on a controversial immigration bill. House Republicans say they will reconsider H.R. 2 on the House floor at a later date. However, it is unclear if they will try to pass the bill along party lines again or if they will move toward working on a more bipartisan bill. Although the Senate has yet to release its version of the Farm Bill, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) of the Senate Agriculture Committee is pushing to mark up the Senate’s Farm Bill in early June. 
Make your voice heard!

While it is more likely that the next Congress will write the new Farm Bill in 2019, we still must take this opportunity to recruit more allies and educate more policymakers and thought leaders.

We are continuing to seek more congressional champions to introduce legislation or amendments on some of the top priorities. Our specific priorities include providing “638 authority” to tribal governments to manage SNAP and nutrition assistance programs and forestry programs; extending Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) authority to all programs at USDA Rural Development; and parity for tribal governments in the conservation programs and throughout the Farm Bill.
Please contact your federal representatives today!
 We have drafted a sample letter that your tribe could send to key Members of Congress. ( Addresses are available here .)