Press Releases
NAAF Statement on the Nomination of Janie Hipp to Serve as USDA General Counsel
“Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M grew up in a small southeast Oklahoma community, beginning her legal career in the 1980s during the tumultuous farm financial crisis as farmers and ranchers faced problems unrivaled since the Great Depression. She served within the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office while establishing a national presence advocating on behalf of farmers and ranchers. Hipp received an LLM in Agriculture Law from the University of Arkansas, joining what was to become a new specialization focusing on the legal complexities of agriculture. She taught agricultural law and food policy for decades while crisscrossing the country working with farmers, ranchers and food businesses. In addition to authoring numerous domestic publications on agriculture and nutrition law, her work also includes international engagement on matters related to food policy. Her domestic and international law and policy career spans over thirty-five years. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni at two universities and has been recognized twice by the American Agriculture Law Association. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation located in Oklahoma and resides in Arkansas with her husband.”
“I am grateful to President Biden for nominating Janie Simms Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, to serve as General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I have the utmost confidence and respect for Janie. I know that she will faithfully carry out her duties to enforce the laws and regulations of the USDA, safeguard producers, protect socially disadvantaged communities, make good on USDA’s responsibility to provide nutrition assistance to children and families, and ensure the interests of the American public are served by USDA’s programs and services. She has a decades-long career dedicated to protecting and ensuring the legal rights of underserved and underprivileged communities. Before serving as CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund, Janie was the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas. I appointed her as my senior advisor for tribal affairs and then as director of the Office of Tribal Relations in the Obama Administration, among other senior positions. For more than 35 years prior to her federal service, Janie built an outstanding career as an agriculture and food lawyer and policy expert. Her work has focused on the complex intersection of Indian law and agriculture and food law.”
“If confirmed, Janie will join a senior leadership team committed to ensuring the fair and equitable implementation of all USDA programs in service to the American people. Her skills and knowledge will contribute to removing barriers to access wherever they exist, building a fairer and more just food system, and helping to build a stronger, more resilient rural America.”
On Wednesday, March 17th, the Native American Agriculture Fund issued their statement regarding President Biden’s intent to nominate Janie Hipp as General Counsel of the US Department of Agriculture:
“NAAF is excited for Janie Hipp’s nomination to serve the Biden Administration. The entire staff at NAAF is confident that she will represent USDA and the country well. This is an important opportunity, and we acknowledge the gravity of this moment. This will be beneficial for all of agriculture.”
“Janie Hipp has done an astounding job building NAAF from the ground up since 2018, from a court order into a private charitable trust that has distributed over $28 million in grants to benefit Native American farmers and ranchers,” said Jim Laducer (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), Chair of the NAAF Board of Trustees. “We are thrilled that she will bring this experience to USDA as General Counsel and NAAF fully supports her in this role.”
“Janie Hipp brings over 30 years of experience to this position,” said Dr. Joe Hiller (Oglala Lakota), Vice Chair of the NAAF Board of Trustees. “If confirmed, she will be the first ever Native American to serve as General Counsel at USDA and will be the most senior Native person to serve USDA in its 159-year history. We are confident that Janie will do an incredible job not only for Indian Country but for the entire country.”
To view President Biden’s announcement on his intent to nominate Janie Simms Hipp as General Counsel of USDA, you may read President Biden Announces his Intent to Nominate Key Members of his Administration.