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Prior to the founding of Hobbs Straus, Jerry Straus was lead Washington, D.C. counsel in the first large scale case for the restoration of historic Indian land – the restoration of the 48,000 acre Blue Lake lands to the Taos Pueblo.

General Memorandum 11-140

General Memorandum 11-140
FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Enacted

Legislation has been enacted providing full year FY 2012 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture (Department) and Related Agencies. The President signed the bill, HR 2112, on November 18, 2011, as Public Law 112-55. We report in this Memorandum on funding levels for selected Department of Agriculture programs of particular interest to tribal governments and tribal colleges.

Agriculture funding is one portion of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 which provides funding for programs funded under the Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development bills. PL 112-55 reduces Agriculture and Related Agencies discretionary funding by 13 percent below FY 2011 and 18 percent below the President's request. It also contains a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the remaining nine appropriations bills through December 16, 2011 (see our General Memorandum 11-133 of November 18, 2011, for more information).

The Conference Report (H.Rpt. 112-284) notes that instructions in either the House or Senate Appropriations Committee reports (H.Rpt. 112-101; S.Rpt. 112-73) accompanying HR 2112 are approved by the conferees unless changed by the Conference Report. New in the Conference Report are instructions to the Department to provide, beginning with the FY 2013 budget submission, spending information for the previous three fiscal years, not only the proposed change from the prior year as is currently the case.

Office of Tribal Relations

FY 2011 Enacted $ 498,000
FY 2012 Request $1,015,000
FY 2012 Enacted $ 448,000

Bill language states that the purpose of this new office, which is to be located in the Office of the Secretary, is "to support communications and consultation activities with Federally Recognized Tribes, as well as other requirements established by law."

The Senate Report states with regard to the Office of Tribal Relations:
The Office of Tribal Relations will interact with USDA program agencies to understand pending actions that may affect Indian tribes. This interaction and programmatic knowledge will improve USDA's ability to conduct consultation activities, thereby better addressing the needs of USDA tribal constituents and improving relationships. (S.Rpt. 112-73, p. 8)

Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program

FY 2011 Enacted $3,039,000
FY 2012 Request $8,000,000
FY 2012 Enacted $3,039,000

Under the Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program, state land grant universities provide education and resources for tribes in areas including range management, wildlife and fisheries enhancement and education for adults and youth.

Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

FY 2011 Enacted $20 million
FY 2012 Enacted $20 million

Funding for this program is mandatory, and thus not subject to the appropriations process. Funds are provided to tribes, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations to conduct training, outreach and technical assistance for disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

Tribal Colleges Extension Services

FY 2011 Enacted $4,312,000
FY 2012 Request $5,321,000
FY 2012 Enacted $4,312,000

Native American Institutions Endowment Fund (tribal colleges)

FY 2011 Enacted $11,880,000
FY 2012 Request $11,880,000
FY 2012 Enacted $11,880,000

The Senate Report explains:
The Native American Institutions Endowment Fund authorized by Public Law 103-382 provides an endowment for the 1994 land-grant institutions (34 tribally controlled colleges). This program will enhance educational opportunity for Native Americans by building educational capacity at these institutions in the areas of student recruitment and retention, curricula development, faculty preparation, instruction delivery systems, and scientific instrumentation for teaching. Income funds are also available for facility renovation, repair, construction, and maintenance. On the termination of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall withdraw the income from the endowment fund for the fiscal year, and after making adjustments for the cost of administering the endowment fund, distribute the adjusted income as follows: 60 percent of the adjusted income from these funds shall be distributed among the 1994 land-grant institutions on a pro rata basis, the proportionate share being based on the Indian student count; and 40 percent of the adjusted income shall be distributed in equal shares to the 1994 land-grant institutions. (S.Rpt. 112-73, pp. 25-26)

1994 Institutions Equity Grants (tribal colleges)

FY 2011 Enacted $3,335,000
FY 2012 Request $3,676,000
FY 2012 Enacted $3,335,000

1994 Institution Research Initiative (tribal colleges)

FY 20011Enacted $1,801,000
FY 2012 Request $1,805,000
FY 2012 Enacted $1,801,000

Every two years the tribal colleges compete for these funds.

Community Facility Grants for Tribal Colleges and Universities

FY 2011 Enacted $3,964,000
FY 2012 Request –0–
FY 2012 Enacted $3,369,000

The total amount of subsides and grants for the Rural Community Facilities Program Account is $29.3 million. The conferees encourage school districts to utilize this program:
The conferees note that USDA Community Facilities loans and grants can assist eligible school districts participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs with upgrades to school infrastructure in order to assist schools in meeting the new nutrition standards. The conferees encourage the Department to conduct outreach to rural school districts, especially those with more than 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, and consider applications for school food service upgrades through the Rural Community Facilities program. (H. Rpt. 112-284, pp. 177-178)

Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Higher Education Institutions

FY 2011 Enacted $3,194,000
FY 2012 Request $3,200,000
FY 2012 Enacted $3,194,000

Bill language provides that the funds are to be divided equally between Hawaii and Alaska.

Rural Business Program Subsidy and Grants

FY 2011 Enacted $85,280,000
FY 2012 Request $89,857,000
FY 2012 Enacted $74,809,000

The bill provides that of the total, $4 million is for business grants for federally recognized tribes. Within the $4 million is $250,000 "for a grant to a qualified national organization to provide technical assistance for rural transportation in order to promote economic development."

Among the programs funded under this account are the Rural Business Enterprise grants ($24 million, a $10 million decrease from FY 2011) and the Rural Business Opportunity grants ($2.25 million, slightly more than in FY 2011). In FY 2011 there were 13 awards to tribes totaling $1.05 million under the Rural Business Opportunity program and 32 awards to tribes totaling $3.2 million under the Rural Business enterprise program.

Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Subsidy and Grants

FY 2011 Enacted $527,944,000
FY 2012 Request $488,978,000
FY 2012 Enacted $513,000,000

Within the total is $66.5 million (a $2.1 million decrease) for water and waste disposal systems grants for Native Americans, including Native Alaskans, the Colonias, and residents of Hawaiian Homelands. Also included is $800,000 for technical assistance for rural water systems for tribal communities, and $15 million for a circuit rider program to provide technical assistance for rural water systems.

Indian Tribal Land Acquisition Loans

FY 2011 Enacted $3,940,000
FY 2012 Request $2,000,000
FY 2012 Enacted $2,000,000

Indian Highly Fractionated Land Loan Subsidy

FY 2011 Enacted –0–
FY 2012 Request $193,000
FY 2010 Enacted $193,000

A subsidy of $193,000 will support $10 million in loans to individual Indians to purchase highly fractionated parcels of land.

Rural Development Direct Loan Fund Subsidy

FY 2011 Enacted $ 7,385,000
FY 2012 Request $12,324,000
FY 2012 Enacted $ 6,000,000

The bill reserves $875,000 of these funds for federally recognized tribes.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (includes the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

FY 2011 Enacted $65.2 billion
FY 2012 Request $73.2 billion
FY 2012 Enacted $80.4 billion

The Act provides $102,746,000 for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. In addition, bill language provides that $1 million may be used "to provide nutrition education services to state agencies and Federally recognized tribes participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations."
The Farm Bill (PL 110-246) allows the Secretary of Agriculture to authorize tribes to administer the commodities program if he determines that a tribal organization "is capable of effectively and efficiently administering a distribution … ." The Secretary is also authorized to pay the administrative expenses associated with a tribe or state administering the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations Program.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

FY 2011 Enacted $6.7 billion
FY 2012 Request $7.4 billion
FY 2012 Enacted $6.6 billion

Currently 34 tribal organizations administer the WIC program.

Distance Learning and Telemedicine – Grants

FY 2011 Enacted $32,435,000
FY 2012 Request $30,000,000
FY 2012 Enacted $21,000,000

Within the total is $3 million for telemedicine and distance learning grants for health needs in the Mississippi River Delta area and $3 million for noncommercial educational broadcast stations that serve rural areas that are qualified for Community Service Grants by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Broadband Telecommunications – Loan authorization

FY 2011 Enacted $400,000,000
FY 2012 Request –0–
FY 2012 Enacted $212,014,000

The Conferees state that funding is "intended to promote broadband availability in those areas where there is not otherwise a business case for private investment in a broadband network. The conferees encourage RUS to focus expenditures on projects that bring broadband service to currently unserved households."

The Administration did not request funding for broadband loans as the Department had unobligated funds which accumulated while the program was on hold during a rewrite of rules. Congress has since moved some of those funds to another program.

Broadband Telecommunications – Loan subsidies

FY 2011 Enacted $22,276,000
FY 2012 Request –0–
FY 2012 Enacted $6,000,000

Broadband Telecommunications – Grants

FY 2011 Enacted $13,379,000
FY 2012 Request $17,976,000
FY 2012 Enacted $10,372,000

Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding FY 2012 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture.

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Inquiries may be directed to:
Karen Funk (kfunk@hobbsstraus.com)

Available Documents for Download ( any referenced attachments are included in download )


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