The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative team led the eleventh webinar in our Farm Bill series, focusing on the horticulture title. To access a copy of the slide deck, learn a bit about the horticulture title's importance to Indian Country, and read when our next webinar is, keep scrolling.
First appearing in the 2008 Farm Bill, the Horticulture Title supports specialty crop and organic farming operations with provisions that provide trade promotion and risk management assistance. Funding for pest and disease management and disaster prevention was specifically increased in the 2014 Farm Bill. According to USDA, sales of specialty crops account for nearly one-third of U.S. crop cash receipts and one-fifth of U.S. agricultural exports.
Horticulture crops are extremely important to tribes for many reasons. First, and most importantly, many of the traditional crops that are so important to the cultural and spiritual lives of Indigenous people are “produce” or “specialty crops” under federal law. Second, there are many individual and community acts of food sovereignty that are occurring throughout Indian Country. These food sovereignty activities are critical to improving the health and wellness of tribal members. Indian Country health data is among the worst in the country. Chronic diseases, stroke, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are at very high rates throughout Indian Country. One of the important ways to address these health issues is to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables available in our communities and to make those foods accessible locally and regionally. Third, as more of these foods are grown and raised in Indian Country, the surpluses are already finding their way into local and regional markets, and many tribes are improving their economic development alternatives by expanding into diverse food production systems. Ensuring that we understand and gain access to the programs authorized in the Horticulture Title is very important and will remain important to tribes for years to come.
Our next webinar covering Title XI of the Farm Bill, the crop insurance title, will be livestreamed from our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages on Friday, July 15th at 3 pm ET. We hope to see you there!