Navajo Nation Receives $13.5 Million for Crop Insurance Funding

Left to right: Legislative District Assistant Tommy Tsosie, Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture Project Program Specialist Ferdinand Notah, Council Delegate Shawna Ann Claw, Council Delegate Otto Tso, Council Delegate Casey Allen Johnson, Chuck Howe from CKP, Legislative District Assistant Melinda Arviso-Ciocco, Council Delegate Rickie Nez. (Photo/Navajo Nation)

Members of the Navajo Nation Council’s Resources and Development Committee on Thursday received a $13.5 million check from CKP Insurance on behalf of the Navajo Nation for indemnities based on the 2023 crop year.

Since 2016, the Navajo Nation has purchased crop insurance through CKP, initially implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Pilot Insurance Program. Crop insurance is designed to provide coverage on pasture, rangeland, and forage acres, and is based on a rainfall index that determines precipitation within an area.

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“Crop insurance is a critical resource that supports our ranchers and farmers in years of drought conditions. The indemnities paid to the Nation are used to fund infrastructure projects through the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Management and Expenditure Program,” RDC Chairwoman Brenda Jesus said.

CKP presented 2023 crop year reports with indemnity proceeds certified by the USDA. This year, the Navajo Nation’s benefit amounted to $13,573,487, certified as an indemnity insurance payment to the Navajo Nation. Similar presentations were extended to other tribes participating in the program.

“As climate change continues to impact the Navajo Nation during the summer months, our investment in crop insurance lessens the impacts that low rainfall has on our agricultural industries, ranchers, and farmers,” said RDC Vice Chair Casey Allen Johnson. “The protections against low rainfall provide for improvements to our irrigation systems and other agricultural infrastructure projects while offsetting losses for low harvests.”

Summit discussions addressed the necessity of effective fund utilization. While acknowledging the financial support, challenges persist in ensuring timely and impactful spending. The RDC emphasized the importance of aligning spending with the annual average benefit of $17 million, spanning a seven-year period.

The Resources and Development Committee continues pushing for proactive planning for fund deployment, advocating for timely allocation and expenditures for projects from the AIF. Since 2016, the Navajo Nation has received over $110 million through the program.

“When the Resources and Development Committee accepted the check on behalf of the Navajo Nation, it was a tremendous show of good faith in support of Navajo ranchers and also our farming projects on the Navajo Nation,” said RDC member Shawna Ann Claw.

The indemnity payment underscores the Navajo Nation's commitment to addressing agricultural challenges and fostering sustainable development within tribal communities. The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture will continue to collaborate with the Navajo Nation Council to allocate resources toward vital infrastructure initiatives.

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