U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) visited Aztec on Feb. 20 to hold a roundtable discussion on New Mexico’s agriculture priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. Their conversations centered on San Juan County food banks, Native American farmers, and critical extension programs to consider the 2023 Farm Bill. Following the discussion, Senator Luján toured a local farm with meeting participants.
As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Luján will play a vital role in creating the legislation to help ensure the USDA best serves New Mexican agriculture producers and consumers.
“Today I was fortunate to hear from more farmers, ranchers, and nutrition advocates on how the Farm Bill can be strengthened to meet New Mexico’s needs,” said Luján. “San Juan County plays a central role to our state’s agricultural industry and local economy, and it’s critical their voices are heard brought to the table.”
Senator Luján also visited with Navajo Nation Council Delegates to highlight the $4.351 million secured to support their community needs. Luján’s first meeting with Navajo Council Delegate Eugenia Charles Newton to discuss the investment secured to complete demolition and abatement of the vacant Bureau of Indian Affairs buildings in Shiprock.
“It was an honor to join Navajo Nation Councilwoman Eugenia Charles Newton to highlight over $4 million in federal investments that I helped secure to demolish vacant BIA buildings in Shiprock to make way for new development that will drive the local economy and provide new opportunities to local business owners,” said Luján.
Following their discussion, Luján met with Navajo Nation Councilwoman Amber Kanazbah Crotty to highlight $25,000 secured for the Missing and Murdered Dine Relatives Relief Fund, which provides direct financial assistance for Diné families affected by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP) crisis in San Juan, McKinley and Cibola counties. Senator Luján’s Native Youth and Tribal Officer Protection Act was signed into law last year as part of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization to strengthen the federal government’s efforts to combat violence against Native communities and Tribal Nations.
“For too long, Indigenous people have been disappearing from their communities and taken from their loved ones. Every one of those individuals has a name, a home, and a right to justice. That’s why I was proud to secure funding to support the Missing and Murdered Dine Relatives Relief Fund – providing funding for facility costs, legal fees, search and rescue efforts, and community support for those in need,” said Luján. “As a member on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I will continue working to combat the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.
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