Settling Keepseagle

Settling Keepseagle

Settling Keepseagle. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The purpose of the Council for Native American Farming and Ranching is to help native governments, businesses, farmers and ranchers partner with the Department of Agriculture to create jobs, drive economic growth and strengthen tribal communities. The creation of the council is part of the Keepseagle lawsuit settlement.

HIPP: It alleged that USDA discriminated against Native American farmers and ranchers in the way it operated the farm loan program. The critical role that the council will play is that from now moving forward that council will advise the Secretary on ways to eliminate barriers to participation in all USDA programs by Native American farmers and ranchers.

Janie Hipp, Senior Adviser to the Ag Secretary for Tribal Relations says the new council consists of 15 members, 11 tribal leaders from around the country and 4 USDA officials.

HIPP: The documents creating the council created it for a period of 6 years. The appointments are for 2 years at a time. There are 11 seats on the council that are held by individuals who are familiar with the issues facing native farmers and ranchers, who are Native American leaders and others with critical information to those important issues facing farmers and ranchers and those involved in food and agriculture.

She says having a positive relationship with the Native American community is paramount. Hipp talks about what it means for the USDA to settle its alleged discrimination cases and also that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s effort to settle such lawsuits as the Keepseagle case have been welcomed.

HIPP: When you settle these long standing cases then the department and those people, those communities involved can create those new relationships and it helps everyone to move forward. It helps USDA to do a better job and so we’re very excited about that. The Secretary has been aggressive about seeking settlements and creating new relationships so that the next generation of farmers and ranchers can all continue whatever - whoever you are to continue to move forward and be successful in farming and ranching in your communities and help build strong rural places.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network. 

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