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Chickasaw Nation’s Janie Simms Hipp named USDA general counsel

Janie Simms Hipp

WASHINGTON–  Janie Simms Hipp (Chickasaw Nation) was confirmed July 30 by the U.S. Senate to be general counsel of the United States Department of Agriculture. Hipp was nominated to the post by President Joe Biden on March 15.

“She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a leader and legal expert in farming and agriculture,” Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby stated on social media. “She has dedicated her career to promoting the important role of women and First Americans in advancing food security, sustainable agriculture and equitable agriculture policy. We look forward to her continued work to ensure a just agriculture system for all Americans and wish her the best of luck as she steps into this new role.”

Hipp’s career in domestic and international law and policy spans more than 35 years. She’s been a leader for several USDA programs and was director of its Office of Tribal Relations and senior advisor for tribal relations to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“In this new role, she will carry out the duties to enforce the laws and regulations of the USDA and ensure the interests of the American public are served by USDA’s programs and services,”  Vilsack said in a statement. “Adding Janie’s expertise to the strong senior leadership team at USDA will only further our efforts to expand opportunity for those who live, work and raise their families in rural communities, especially in those communities that have experienced persistent poverty, make good on USDA’s responsibility to provide nutrition assistance to children and families, and contribute to removing barriers to access to USDA programs wherever they exist.”

Hipp’s background in agriculture and as a lawyer and policy expert includes being CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund and founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas, where she has a Masters of Law degree in agriculture and food law. Hipp earned a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University.