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Indian Land Tenure Foundation Receives $140,000 from USDA for Outreach to American Indian Farmers and Ranchers

11-13-12

Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) announced that it has received a $140,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) for outreach to American Indian farmers and ranchers regarding options for use and management of Indian trust land, specifically participation in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The annually renewable award will support the development and distribution of information to Indian farmers and ranchers regarding the CRP, a federal agricultural program administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to reduce soil erosion and protect the nation’s natural resources. The goal of the grant is to increase enrollment in the CRP by Indian landowners, who are eligible to apply, but due to the complexities of trust land ownership and management, have historically low rates of participation.

“The Office of Tribal Relations looks forward to working in partnership with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation to expand USDA outreach to American Indian landowners and farmers. USDA will be better positioned now to provide the awareness of and education about the Conservation Reserve Program, an important resource to help tribes conserve their lands and natural resources,” said OTR director, Joanna Mounce Stancil.

As part of the grant, ILTF will partner with Drake University School of Law to research federal regulations that apply to enrollment of trust land in CRP programs and develop educational materials to be presented to landowners at a series of workshops and trainings held throughout the year. ILTF will also work with the staff of National Indian Carbon Coalition, a project of ILTF and Intertribal Agriculture Council, to develop educational materials and conduct trainings.

“Education about the CRP in Indian Country is really long overdue,” said Cris Stainbrook, ILTF president. “This is a federal program that has been around in some form since the 1950s. The CRP provides $1.8 billion annually to American farmers, but the rules for how Indian landowners can participate have always been unclear because of the trust status of their lands, making it a real challenge for them to enroll. We hope to reduce some of those barriers by clarifying the regulations, explaining them in a way that makes sense and ensuring that enrollment is equally open to Indian landowners.”

Trainings offered by ILTF through USDA funding are free to all Indian landowners who wish to attend. Trainings are set to begin in early 2013 when a full schedule will be posted on the ILTF website. Individuals interested in being notified of trainings in their area can call ILTF at 651-766-8999 or email info@iltf.org to get on a mailing list.

Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community foundation serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. ILTF works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. For more information visit www.iltf.org.

The Offfice of Tribal Relations (OTR), located within the Office of the Secretary, works to ensure that relevant programs and policies are efficient, easy to understand, accessible and developed in consultation with the Native American Indians and Alaskan Native constituents they impact. The Office of Tribal Relations serves as the single point of contact for consultation with American Indian and Alaskan Native Governments and continues to refine the consultation process to ensure strong partnerships that will preserve tribal sovereignty and result in high quality service for farmers, ranchers, consumers and other constituents.

Download PDF of Press Release

Media Contact

Erin Dennis, Communications Director, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, 651-766-8999.

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