Navajo Nation President-elect Nez Praises Signing of Farm Bill Reauthorization that Includes Tribal Provisions

Navajo Nation uses cattle from local Navajo ranchers.

Published December 22, 2018

WINDOW ROCK — On Thursday, Decemeber 20, President Trump signed into law the Farm Bill reauthorization, which will set federal nutrition, forestry, and agriculture policy for the next five years. Navajo Nation President-elect Jonathan Nez said the signing of the bill includes several important and beneficial provisions for the Navajo Nation. 

“We supported the bill, particularly as it relates to provisions that offer new opportunities for local food economies and also expands the Navajo Nation’s food sovereignty. It also empowers Indian Country to make traditional foods available on a wider scale for their people and their communities,” stated President-elect Nez.

Navajo Nation President-elect Jonathan Nez

As Vice President and now as President-elect, Nez has been a very strong advocate for healthy living by encouraging Navajo people to exercise, eat healthy, and to encourage their loved ones and others to do the same. 

Several of the provisions in the Farm Bill that are favorable to Indian Country include:

• The expansion of 638 self-governance authorities that allow tribes to administer the Food Distribution Program 
• Establishment of a Tribal Advisory Committee within the Office of Tribal Relations to provide advice and input on USDA policy 
• Support for tribal parity and inclusion in USDA Rural Development initiatives, which includes programs related tobroadband access

“While we are pleased with many aspects of the final bill, it’s unfortunate that it did not include the expansion of tribal self-governance authorities over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, that should not deter the Navajo Nation from continuing to advocate and pursue those authorities,” added President-elect Nez.

Under the incoming administration, President-elect Nez and Vice President-elect Myron Lizer will continue promoting health and wellness as a high priority. Nez previously said the bill providesnew opportunities for local food economies, and that it will help local Navajo farmers.

“We want to see more farmer’s markets in our local communities to benefit Navajo farmers so they can earn a better living while providing healthier food options for our people,” President-elect Nez stated.

He added that he is optimistic that the Navajo Nation can utilize the Farm Bill reauthorization to leverage $15 million that was allocated from the Permanent Trust Fund income for farming and agricultural projects in Many Farms, Tsaile/Wheatfields, and Shiprock.

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