Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it signed two memorandums of understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to foster improved access to USDA and BIA programs by tribes and tribal members. Rep. Kristi Noem applauded the MOUs, which are designed to help increase access to farm programs in Indian Country. Rep. Noem also highlighted her efforts to establish a permanent Office of Tribal Relations within USDA, which would serve to improve access to federal programs in Indian Country.
"These agreements are an important step to increasing access to programs and improving communication between the federal government and sovereign tribes," said Rep. Noem. "Improving access to farm programs for Native Americans in South Dakota and other states can help spur economic development and positive growth in Indian Country. That is why it is critical we ensure tribes know about the opportunities available to them. That's why I worked to include an amendment in the House Agriculture Committee-passed Farm Bill to establish a permanent Office of Tribal Relations within USDA."
South Dakota is home to nine tribes with millions of acres of land, some of which could be suitable for agricultural use. Rep. Noem successfully inserted an amendment to permanently establish an Office of Tribal Relations within USDA in the Farm Bill passed by House Agriculture Committee. The office would help ensure fair access to USDA programs to spur job creation and economic development in rural communities across America. It would also serve to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on policy impacting Indian Country.