© 2019 Intertribal Agriculture Council. Created by Jeffries Design

Join Us in Our Goal to Invest 20 Million

in Native American Farmers and Ranchers!

The Importance of Agriculture to Tribal

and Rural Economies and the World Food Supply

The federal government has been calling on agricultural producers to meet the steadily growing demand for food and fiber for the projected world population of 10 billion by 2050. Beyond meeting basic sustenance needs and domestic market niches, a burgeoning middle class in developing countries is placing demands for foods that the current food system is not prepared to satisfy. A vastly overlooked segment of producers, Native Americans, are positioned to supply consumers with sustainably produced, high-nutrient value foods in ways that protect ecologically and culturally sensitive areas. 

 

For Native and rural communities, relationships with the land are integral to cultural preservation and economic stability. Agriculture is the primary industry on reservation lands that are now supporting 58.7 million acres of diverse cropland and grazing lands for livestock. At present, over 70,000 Native farmers and ranchers stand at the ready to produce high quality food and fiber from the most pristine land and waters remaining in the United States. For over 30 years, IAC has supported these communities through programs that

 

  • Address legal and policy barriers

  • Facilitate agriculture and resource conservation planning 

  • Provide direct technical assistance and training 

  • Increase access to domestic and foreign markets 

  • Train the new generation of agricultural producers and professionals 

  • Infuse patient capital directly into producer operations

 There is potential to develop sustainable economies and resilient regional food systems by converting the $3.3 billion in raw food products being sold by Indian producers today into an estimated $20 billion industry in high-value retail level food products. By investing in Intertribal Agriculture Council's (IAC) mission-focused campaign, economic futures will be revitalized and food and agriculture systems reclaimed for their highest good. By supporting this campaign, you will help transform on-the-ground social, economic, and ecological realities within an observable period of time.

The Time to Act is Now: A Window of Opportunity for Increasing Native Agriculture Production

After nearly a century of government control, Tribal farmers and ranchers and the organizations that serve them are driving the laws and policies that govern them and gaining access to programs that are designed to support their success. The passage of the 2018 USDA Farm Bill shows great promise for placing Tribal producer needs at the fore of federal priorities through 63 specific provisions relating to Tribal producers. Specifically, the Farm Bill recognizes the importance of Tribal sovereignty while at once allowing for investments in increased production, conservation, and infrastructure. The Keepseagle v. Vilsack settlement allows for $38 million to benefit non-profit organizations serving Native American farmers and ranchers, and $266 million to fund The Native American Agriculture Fund. These unprecedented opportunities create a critical window in which to strategically pursue organizational growth that will expedite the goals of IAC as well as strengthen IAC’s capacity to carry out its mission long-term.

Invest in IAC’s Programs and Mission Areas

The Intertribal Agriculture Council conducts a wide range of programs designed to further the goal of improving Indian Agriculture. IAC programs include: 

  • The Technical Assistance Program, a collaborative program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Tribal Relations to establish Technical Assistance Centers to increase access and use of USDA programs and services by Indian producers; 

  • The American Indian Foods (AIF) program, a program that began in 1998 under contract with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service to serve as a platform for American Indian food businesses to showcase products and share Tribal cultures with consumers around the world and AIF’s sub-program, the Made by American Indians Trademark; 

  • The Indian Agriculture Youth Professional Development program and the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance (NYFSA), an innovative, youth-driven governance model that facilitates professional development opportunities and funded internships for Native youth interested in food and agriculture careers; 

  • Natural Resources and Conservation program to facilitate agriculture resource planning and sustainable agriculture operations;

  • Akiptan, a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that aims to solve the decades long challenge of access to affordable and patient capital

In 2019, IAC engaged in extensive internal planning sessions involving all levels of staff, consulted with national partners, and gathered input from producers to identify areas where new and expanded programming would target the needs and gaps in resources and infrastructure across Indian Country nationally. These need areas, which include locally-controlled agriculture resource planning, food and agriculture policy adaptation and implementation, food systems improvements, increased access to capital and credit, and innovations in training the agricultural workforce, were adopted as specific IAC mission areas and aligned with existing programs. By supporting these areas, IAC will be empowered to implement strategic plans and carry out expanded mission areas in Tribal and rural communities.

Our High-Impact Investment Options Include:

  • Contributions toward an endowment to support long-term operations and Akiptan Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI): As a national organization that serves Native producers, IAC is able to coordinate investments into Akiptan, a CDFI that can in turn invest directly in producers by providing access to patient capital, as well as offer technical business assistance and financial education. Endowment funds also support long-term operations for IAC and expansion of mission areas in Indian Country. 

  • Investments in mission areas and programs: If a particular program or mission area is of interest to funders, IAC welcomes direct contributions to these areas.

  • Corporate sponsorships and strategic partnerships: Corporate benefactors stand to benefit by bolstering the economic profiles of thousands of producers nationwide who will be purchasing agricultural products and services. Corporate sponsorship inspires brand loyalty amongst producers which in turn benefits the benefactor. Developing strategic partnerships and leveraging expertise and resources with universities, non-profit, corporate and industry partners opens possibilities for creative synergies as well as diverse new sources of funding.

  • Direct gifts: planned estate, cash donations, land, and equipment: IAC accepts other types of gifts such as direct cash contributions through our donor intermediary service as well as acquisition of other types of gifted or deeded resources.

  • Grants and cooperative agreements: To contribute to the overarching goal of supporting sustainable food and agriculture production, the IAC team is pursuing funds from private funders as well as federal opportunities such as grants and cooperative agreements. 

  • Conference and event sponsorship: As a gesture of partnership, funders may consider contributing to the Intertribal Agriculture Council’s annual conference. The Intertribal Agriculture Council annual conference attracts upwards of 700 attendees comprised of producers, vendors, presenters, and participants from industry and government. Attendees can expect to receive industry updates such as changes in ag laws and policies as well as available resources to advance the agricultural industry. Corporate support of IAC’s annual conference increases brand recognition and loyalty amongst attendees and brand exposure is gained through formal acknowledgements on IAC’s conference webpage and conference materials. 

  • Conference and event presentations: Through IAC’s Technical Assistance Network and American Indian Foods program, IAC can coordinate special occasion events that feature top Native chefs and specialty foods accompanied by a presentation from one of IAC’s program directors to describe the purpose and cultural significance of the foods served. 

For more information contact Micaela Young, Director of Development at micaela@indianag.org to discuss the process and best type of investment for you or your organization. IAC established a donor intermediary account for those contributing and investing through a donor advised fund.