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Family Operations— A Cornerstone of Rural Communities



Focused on advocating for the policy priorities identified by our members, Kelsey Scott, IAC Director of Programs, testified before the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Hearing on "A Review of Animal Agriculture Stakeholder Priorities."


In her testimony, Scott urged Congress to commit to land stewardship, food security, and rural economic development. After challenging the systemic inequities and barriers that family operations experience while working in agriculture, Scott identified 8 solutions to current gaps in USDA services. This solutions toolbox includes the following:


  1. Enhanced USDA Services & Programmings Customized for Family Operations

  2. Cost-shared Risk Mitigation and Price Guarantee Tools

  3. Unrestricted and Quality Access to Fair Credit

  4. Meaningful Financial Investment in Infrastructure

  5. Diversified Market Opportunities & Transparency in the Marketplace

  6. Scalable Food Safety Regulatory Requirements & Increased Remote Meat Inspection Utilization

  7. Investment in Value Added Production & Retail Market Access

  8. Receptivity to Feedback on 2023 Farm Bill Implementation Process


"While these folks [livestock producers] have learned to be profoundly resilient, this Congress has the opportunity to make improvements that will provide a greater chance of viability for these small, family livestock operations," said Scott.


At the heart of our daily charge, Intertribal Agriculture Council is guided by the purpose of promoting positive change in Indian Agriculture for the benefit of our people. This charge centers on working with Tribal producers and their small family operations in navigating and accessing USDA programs to meet their needs. Uplifting rural economies by supporting living wages for producers is just one step in the right direction to enhancing their livelihoods.


“And I have faith that together, we can build a future where my son enjoys a ranching livelihood where his take home pay is no longer best measured in Meadowlark songs, sunsets on the prairie, and ‘it’ll get better’ promises,” Scott concluded.





 

Kelsey Scott is the Director of Programs for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. She’s the owner of DX Beef, a direct-to-consumer regenerative beef operation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, where she ranches with her husband and family. Kelsey’s passion lies in working directly with land managers and producers in promoting regenerative agricultural practices and community-focused food systems. Kelsey is excited to see how her work with producers can continue to enhance their connection to consumers in an effort to re-localize more resilient food systems.


 

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