KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Native farmers raise awareness for agriculture needs amid U.S. farm bill negotiations

Coverage of tribal natural resources is supported in part by Catena Foundation

In 1974, Ramona Button and her husband Terry started stewarding her family’s 10-acre allotment in Sacaton on the Gila River Indian Reservation. And Ramona Farms has since sprouted as a household name across Indian Country.

Their eldest daughter, Brandy, is leveraging her spotlight now as a “Native Advocate” by educating federal lawmakers through the Native Farm Bill Coalition, a nationwide initiative of more than 170 tribes, including seven federally recognized tribes here in Arizona. She recently visited the nation’s Capitol and spoke on these issues. 

"I believe that food sovereignty is important to our communities and all communities across the nation," said Button. "I hope Congress includes the ability for small, beginning and existing farmers to procure loans more easily."

Almost a fourth of all Indigenous agricultural producers in the U.S. reside in Arizona, spanning across 21 million acres of land and outnumbering the state’s non-Native farmers and ranchers. The farm bill reauthorization is due in September.

Gabriel Pietrorazio is a correspondent who reports on tribal natural resources for KJZZ.