Skip to main content

Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs

Leading Government-to-Government Relations

The Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) leads the Department’s vision to support and enhance government-to-government relations between USDA and the Federally recognized tribal governments. OTR supports tribal interests by providing a one-stop approach for USDA, coordinating with other Federal agencies and the Administration to ensure access to those who deliver the resources to support the goals of the Tribe(s). Further, OTR reviews regulations for potential tribal implications.

Memorandum of Tribal Consultation
Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities
USDA American Rescue Plan Information Page


Office of Tribal Relations Accepting Tribal Government Flags

Office of Tribal Relations is delighted to announce, in recognition of our diplomatic nation-to-nation relationship, we are launching a USDA Hall of Tribal Nations. Our sister agency, the Department of Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs, has led the way with their Hall of Tribal Nations. Currently the USDA has a hall of state flags, but nothing comparable for our tribal nations. The USDA Hall of Tribal Nations will post our tribal flags, exhibit Native art reflecting the diversity of our tribal creativity, cultures, and histories, and will promote Native grown and produced agriculture and food products. We write to respectfully request the honor of your 3ft x 5ft tribal flag, which will be hung at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC. We thank the Cherokee Nation for being the first tribal nation to present USDA with their flag. Tribal flags may be mailed to:

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Attention: Tribal Flags/Office of Tribal Relations
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Room 200A J.L. Whitten Building
Washington, DC 20250

Tribal Leader Invitation

Learn more about the USDA Tribal Hall of Nations


Expanding Tribal Self-Determination

USDA will enable greater self-governance and decision making on USDA programs and policies that affect tribal nations. The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes USDA’s Forest Service and Food and Nutrition Service to enter into self-determination demonstration projects for the first time. Learn more (PDF, 201 KB)


Upcoming Webinars & Listening Sessions


    Previous Webinars & Listening Sessions

    USDA/DOI Tribal Bison Listening Session – Part 3
    Date: Wednesday November 3, 2021
    Time: 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Eastern
    Zoom Meeting Link

     

    PART 2:
    Tribal Bison Listening Session
    Federal Contracting and Marketing Opportunities for Tribal Bison Production
    Date: Wednesday, August 25, 2021
    Time: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM ET
    Zoom Meeting Invitation Link

    Agenda

    • Opening Prayer
    • DOI Welcome Remarks: Bryan Newland, DOI, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs
    • Tribal Leader Introductions and Welcome: InterTribal Bison Council (ITBC)
    • Overview of Bison Purchasing Policy Issues Raised by Tribal Leaders: Heather Dawn Thompson, USDA, Director, Office of Tribal Relations
    • Agency Presentations
      • Bison Requirements for Federal Nutrition Programs (FNS - Food and Nutrition Service)
      • Federal Contracting Requirements (AMS – Agricultural Marketing Service & Office of Tribal Relations)
      • Domestic Market Development (AMS – Agricultural Marketing Service & InterTribal Bison Council)
      • International Market Development (FAS – Foreign Agriculture Service & Intertribal Agriculture Council)
    • Open Discussion
    • Closing Prayer
    • Closing Remarks

    Timber Harvesters and Haulers Listening Session
    Date: Wednesday, June 9, 2021
    Time: 3:00 - 5:00pm ET

    Details: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 authorizes over $11 billion for USDA to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Under the provision that addresses timber harvesting and hauling businesses, “The Secretary of Agriculture may use not more than $200,000,000 to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that have, as a result of the COVID–19 pandemic, experienced a loss of not less than 10 percent in gross revenue during the period beginning on January 1, 2020, and ending on December 1, 2020, as compared to the gross revenue of that timber harvesting or hauling business during the same period in 2019.”

    Framing Paper
    Agenda (PDF, 233 KB)

     

    Joint USDA & DOI Listening Session: Tribal Bison
    June 1, 2021 ~ 1:00-4:00pm ET

    Please join the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Interior (DOI) for a three-part series of Listening Sessions on Tribal Bison, co-sponsored by the Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC).

    Due to the breadth of the many important topics, we will break down the series into three separate listening sessions on three different dates. The first session will be on June 1 (1-4pmET), and will focus on providing information on what financial and technical assistance resources the federal government may have to assist in creating and maintaining tribal bison herds and for bison meat processing plants – after which we will solicit input on those resources.

    The second session, at a future date, will focus on federal contracting and marketing opportunities for tribal bison meat for those that participate in the marketplace. The third session, at a future date, will focus on bison on federal lands, tribal receipt of federal bison, and brucellosis topics. Additional topics and sessions may be added as the series evolves.

    We will provide a Framing Paper, Financial Resources Summary, and full Agenda to listening session registrants. All tribes and all folks in the tribal bison field please join us in this important conversation, and register for the June 1 (1-4pmET) Listening Session focused on federal resources at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/134632315265513487

    Tribal Bison Federal Listening Session Series

    Directions for Submitting Written Comments

    Any questions and any written comments on the first listening session may be submitted by June 21, 2021 to tribal.relations@usda.gov.

     

    Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2 Stakeholder Webinar
    Date: April 8, 2021
    Time: 2:00 PM EST
    Register Here!

    Details: Join the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency as we provide information on how to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP2). Stakeholders join us to learn of ways your organization can assist with outreach and education efforts to promote the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2 ) to your members and other Ag producers. We will cover new changes made under the Pandemic Assistance Program for CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 applicants; CFAP 2 program basics, and resources available to assist producers with sign up and promote the program widely.

     

    Tribal Forest Partnership and Shared Stewardship Workshop
    4 Sessions: March 24, 2021; March 25, 2021; March 30, 2021; April 1, 2021
    Virtual
    NOON – 3:00 PM ET

    The Intertribal Timber Council and the USDA Forest Service are hosting a series of Workshops designed to develop, refine and implement a shared stewardship project proposals on national forests and adjacent tribal lands and resources using USDA FS 638 project-level authority. This workshop intends to discuss new opportunities for shared stewardship under the Tribal Forest Protection Act, including discussions of applicable 2018 Farm Bill provisions, by:

    I. Identifying opportunities to implement 638 focused Shared Stewardship Projects.
    II. Creating understanding of USDA FS 638 authority
    III. Initiating and supporting planning for 638 projects between USDA FS and Tribes

     

    Food Purchase Tribal Listening Session
    Date: Thursday, March 18, 2021
    Time: 3:30 - 4:30 PM Eastern Time
    Register Here

    • Details: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks comments on the development, coordination, and implementation of a food purchase and distribution program intended to provide additional aid to nonprofits serving Americans in need of nutrition assistance. If implemented, the program will serve as a successor to the temporary food box purchase program created in April 2020 in response to the rapidly developing crisis within the food supply chain and increased joblessness due to COVID19. While the food box effort served some communities well, it faced challenges in others.
    • Written Comments: Written comments can be submitted through midnight ET on March 31, 2021, via online portal or by email to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov or Tribal.Relations@usda.gov. We welcome feedback from all interested parties, and we appreciate early response.
    • For More Information: Additional information is available on the AMS website: www.ams.usda.gov/services/ams-covid-stimulus. Questions regarding the listening session can be directed to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov or Tribal.Relations@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    • Statutory Background: Sec. 751 of the COVID Stimulus Package, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provides no less than $1.5B to purchase food and agricultural products, including seafood, fresh produce, dairy, and meat products, to distribute to individuals in need, including through delivery to nonprofit organizations that can receive, store, and distribute food items, and for grants and loans to small or midsized food processors or distributors, seafood processing facilities and processing vessels, farmers markets, producers, or other organizations to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID–19.

     

    USDA Coronavirus Response Grants Tribal Listening Session
    Date: Thursday, March 18, 2021
    Time: 5:00 - 6:00 PM Eastern Time
    Register Here

    • Details: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks comments regarding the development, coordination and implementation of grant programs to support food processing, distribution, seafood processing, farmers markets, and producers and other businesses identified in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The legislation directs USDA to use these grant funds to help businesses respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID-19.
    • Written Comments: Written Comments can be submitted through midnight ET on March 31, 2021, via online portal or by email to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov or Tribal.Relations@usda.gov. We welcome feedback from all interested parties, and we appreciate early response. Additional information is available on the AMS website: www.ams.usda.gov/services/ams-covid-stimulus.
    • For Further Information: Questions regarding the listening session can be directed to AMSCOVIDStimulus@usda.gov or Tribal.Relations@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
    • Statutory Background: Sec. 751 of the COVID Stimulus Package, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provides no less than $1.5B to purchase food and agricultural products, including seafood, fresh produce, dairy, and meat products, to distribute to individuals in need, including through delivery to nonprofit organizations that can receive, store, and distribute food items, and for grants and loans to small or midsized food processors or distributors, seafood processing facilities and processing vessels, farmers markets, producers, or other organizations to respond to coronavirus, including for measures to protect workers against COVID–19

     

    Quality Loss Adjustment Conference Call
    Date: Wednesday January 13, 2021
    Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Time
    Meeting Format: Conference Call | 1-888-844-9904 Access Code: #5939335 (No registration required)

    Details: Please join USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce for an informational session on assistance for producers who experienced crop quality losses. Tribal Leaders, Tribal Organizations, farmers, and ranchers are invited to participate. The link to frequently asked questions can be found at Frequently Asked Questions about the program. Should you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at 202-205-2249, tribal.relations@usda.gov.

    Quality Loss Adjustment Factsheet (PDF, 770 KB)

     

    Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Quarterly Tribal Listening Session
    Date: Thursday, December 3, 2020
    Time: 3:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern Time
    Meeting Format: Conference Call | Toll Free: 877-226-8216 | Pass Code: 487391

    Agenda Items:

     

    SNAP “Deep Dive” Listening Session
    Details: This session will give tribes an overview of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other topics such as SNAP Employment & Training and SNAP-Ed. The presentation will include information about eligibility determination, work requirements, and quality control.
    Date: Thursday October 29, 2020
    Time: 1:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern Time
    Register
    OCT. 2020 SNAP Tribal Leader Letter (PDF, 118 KB)
    SNAP Fact Sheet (PDF, 123 KB)
    SNAP Deep Dive Agenda (PDF, 116 KB)
    SNAP Deep Dive Presentation (PDF, 732 KB)

     

    National Institute of Food and Agriculture Tribal Stakeholder Listening Session
    Date: Friday, October 30, 2020
    Time: 1:00 PM Eastern Time
    Register

    Agenda:
    1. USDA - Office Tribal Relations (OTR) Update (5 min)

    2. New Topics (55 min)

    1:05 - 1:10 PM
    Welcome and Introductions
    Parag Chitnis, Acting Director

    1:10 - 1:20 PM
    Office of Grants & Financial Management Update
    Matthew Faulkner, Deputy Director, OGFM

    1:20 - 1:30 PM
    NIFA Programs Update
    Suresh Sureshwaran, Deputy Director, Institute of Youth, Family, and Community

    1:30 - 1:50 PM
    Stakeholder/NIFA Feedback
    Suresh Sureshwaran and Matt Faulkner

    • Communication: How, Frequency, and What?
    • Increasing applications to NIFA Programs
    • Grant Management Needs

    1:50 - 2:00 PM
    Q & A

    3. Upcoming Issues

    • November - CARES Act funding guidelines for Tribes

     

    SNAP Rules Listening Session
    USDA will discuss SNAP rules with impact on tribes, including: Final Rule - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) Integrity.
    Date: Friday October 30, 2020
    Time: 1:30 - 3:00 PM Eastern Time
    Register
    OCT. 2020 SNAP Tribal Leader Letter (PDF, 118 KB)
    SNAP Fact Sheet (PDF, 123 KB)
    SNAP Rules Agenda (PDF, 170 KB)
    For more information, visit www.usda.gov/tribalrelations/tribal-consultations

     

    Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) – Stakeholder Call
    Details: USDA is implementing a second sign up of the CFAP for agricultural providers who continue to face market disruptions and associated marketing costs because of COVID-19. Signups will begin September 21, 2020 and continue through December 11, 2020 through local Farm Service Agency locations.
    Virtual Date: Monday, September 21, 2020
    Time: 11 AM Eastern Time

     

    Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) – Tribal Leader Call
    Details: If you are a U.S. fisherman impacted by retaliatory tariffs, you may qualify for funding through the STRP. In this call for tribal leaders, we will cover the basics of the program and how to apply through your local USDA Service Center.
    Virtual Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
    Time: 2:00 PM Eastern Time
    Audio Recording

     

    Seafood Trade Relief Program (STRP) – General Stakeholder Webinar
    Details: If you are a U.S. fisherman impacted by retaliatory tariffs, you may qualify for funding through the STRP. In this webinar, we will cover the basics of the program and how to apply through your local USDA Service Center.
    Virtual Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
    Time: 3:00 PM Eastern Time

     

    Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) – Producer Webinar
    Details: Join USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) as we introduce Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. USDA listened to producer feedback during the first round of CFAP, and CFAP 2 has been adapted to better meet the needs of impacted farmers and ranchers of non-specialty and specialty crops, livestock, dairy, eggs, aquaculture, and nursery crops and cut flowers. Learn about expanded eligibility for certain commodities, new payment categories including a sales-based approach to specialty crops and other specific commodities, and information on how to apply.
    Virtual Date: Thursday, September 24
    Time: 3:00 PM Eastern Time


    Additional Resources

    USDA Departmental Regulation on Tribal Consultation, Coordination, and Collaboration (PDF, 178 KB)

    Native American Work Group

    Consolidating USDA Agencies' Services on Indian Reservations

    Presidential Executive Order on Tribal Consultation

    USDA Consultation Action Plan (PDF, 323 KB)

    Sign up for OTR news