Agriculture

Cultivation, protection, and preservation of agricultural products and practices have long been a priority for tribal communities whose cultural and economic survival are connected to agricultural practices.

Agriculture is increasingly important to Native economies, representing the economic backbone of more than 200 tribal communities and witnessing an 88 percent increase in the number of American Indian farmers between 2002 and 2007. According to the Census of Agriculture, in 2007annual Indian agriculture production exceeded $1.4 billion in raw agriculture products.

Enhanced federal support for agriculture, ranching, natural resource management, forestry, and related activities through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs would generate significant benefits for tribes, rural communities, and the nation by promoting economic development, job opportunities and growth, community revitalization, self-sufficiency, youth engagement, and healthier eating.

NCAI supports the development of an Indian Agriculture Act that would empower the USDA to apply the full range of its farm, rural development, and other programs to spur the creation of a successful private-based and agriculture-focused economy on rural Indian reservations.

Additionally, NCAI encourages support for the Farm Bill, which provides unique opportunities for tribes to strengthen agricultural economies in tribal communities.

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