Since January 2021, MCE has been monitoring the activities in Washington D.C. with the convening of the 117th Congress and the establishment of the Biden-Harris Administration. The following individuals, who either are or are likely to be leaders of important components of our federal executive branch, provide MCE with hope that the Biden-Harris Administration will advance strong reforms to support BIPOC farmers, immigrants, and Native Americans; clean up our environment and protect our public lands; and provide greater opportunities for small-scale, environmentally-responsible farmers.
Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator of the Farm Service Agency of the USDA
Before this, Ducheneaux was the executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council and has spent his career educating people about the role of our food system in the longstanding socioeconomic challenges faced by Native American individuals and reservations. Learn more from the FSA’s press release here. FSA provides loans and other financial support to agriculture operations, among other things.
Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Regan formerly held the position as director of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and before that was the regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund. Regan supports shifting our nation to “cleaner forms of energy,” making investments in communities plagued by environmental racism to transform their condition, and improve air and water quality nationwide. Learn more about Regan in the EPA’s press release here. The EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment
Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Department of the Interior
Haaland has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Haaland understands the climate crisis we are in, the oppressive history of DOI on Native Americans, and the importance of protecting our natural resources and protecting public lands from fossil fuel extraction. Learn more about Haaland from a March 2021 NPR article here. DOI manages our public lands and endangered species as well as relations with Native American tribes.
Janie Simms Hipp, nominated to serve as General Counsel for the USDA
Hipp is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and has served as an agriculture and food law and policy expert for over 35 years, including serving as CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund and founding director of the University of Arkansas Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative. Learn more about Hipp’s nomination from the USDA’s press release here. The Office of the General Counsel provides legal services to the USDA in support of the USDA’s work to support rural development, nutrition and food access, agriculture production, and natural resources.