Perdue meets with Intertribal Ag Council
Timber Lake, SD, October 25, 2017 – United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, traveled to South Dakota on Thursday to visit the prairie pothole landscape in northeast South Dakota and then met with the Intertribal Agriculture Council at the USDA office in Timber Lake to discuss Agriculture as an economic development tool in Indian Country.
Secretary Perdue held a productive roundtable discussion with Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier; IAC’s Zach Ducheneaux; local USDA staff, and Native producers who spoke to the great working relationship between the IAC and USDA staff on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
The Timber Lake Service Center serves an area 3.2 million acres in size; and even though understaffed it still serves as one of the models for efficient delivery of USDA services. IAC’s Technical Assistance Program provides a bridge across the cultural and physical divide between USDA and Indian Country. The Technical Assistance Specialists provide critical outreach and technical assistance in Indian Country similarly across the country, in each of the 12 BIA regions. By connecting Native producers with USDA resources and making face-to-face visits with producers to help them fill out applications less time at service centers is needed, which results in more efficient and cost effective customer service.
Secretary Perdue said “rebuilding the dignity and independence would be extremely healthy for the soul and the livelihood (of Indian Country) and we can display that by using the Cheyenne Reservation as an opportunity to show how we can function to make it happen.”
Also in attendance were South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Jaspers; Acting State Director for Rural Development Bruce Jones; Jeff Vanderwilt Assistant State Conservationist; Under Secretary Rob Johansson; FSA District Director, Dan Whetham and Diane Cullo, Special Assistant to the Secretary.
–Intertribal Ag Council