Navajo Pride. Photo: Navajo Agricultural Products Industry
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Senate Committee on Indian Affairs focuses on agribusiness opportunities

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is holding its first hearing of 2018 this week.

The committee meets on Wednesday to focus on agricultural business opportunities in Indian Country. A panel of tribal leaders and experts will be joined by a representative from the Department of Agriculture for the hearing.

The hearing comes as thousands of Indian farmers and ranchers await an additional payout from the Keepseagle lawsuit over discrimination at the USDA. The money -- which includes about $77 million in payments -- is in limbo while an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is being pursued.

Janie Simms Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and a former USDA official who helped the Obama administration with the settlement, is among the witnesses. She is now serving as director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

The hearing takes place at 2:30pm Eastern on Wednesday and it will be webcast. The witness list follows:
Ms. Diane Cullo
Advisor to the Secretary & Director, Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC

The Honorable John L. Berrey
Chairman, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
Quapaw, OK

Ms. Janie Simms Hipp
Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative
University of Arkansas School of Law
Fayetteville, AR

Mr. Lionel Haskie
Operations and Maintenance Manager
Navajo Agricultural Products Industry
Farmington, NM

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Oversight Hearing on "Breaking New Ground in Agribusiness Opportunities in Indian Country" (January 17, 2018)

Related Stories:
Keepseagle payments delayed as opponents take case to Supreme Court (January 10, 2018)
Trump administration offers harsh view on $680 million Keepseagle settlement (October 2, 2017)
Court decision supports release of $380M in Keepseagle settlement funds (May 16, 2017)