The ‘Commod Bod’ and USDA’s box-o-food program

There are federal predecessors to the Trump administration's "Harvest Box" proposal, to provide half of food-stamp benefits in the form of a box of processed and packaged foods, says the NPR blog The Salt. "Among those horrified at the thought: American Indians who recognized this as the same type of federal food assistance that tribes have received for decades, with devastating implications for health."

Tribes form coalition to get a voice in 2018 farm bill

Some 30 tribes are members of the newly formed Native Farm Bill Coalition, whose goal is influencing the 2018 farm bill, particularly on rural economic development issues, says Minnesota Public Radio.

Trump to slash two national monuments in Utah by 60 percent

During a visit to Utah next week, President Trump will announce that he is lopping a combined 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, reducing them to 37 percent of their current size, said the Washington Post.

What happens to a fishing culture when there are too few fish?

For generations, members of the Yurok tribe have fished for salmon in the Klamath River in the northwestern corner of California. "Salmon is essential to Yurok ceremonies, for food and for income," says Lisa Morehouse in a story for The California Report that was produced in partnership with FERN. "But this fall, the number of chinook salmon swimming up the Klamath was the lowest on record, threatening the tribe's entire culture and way of life."

Zinke won’t dismantle any national monuments, though some might get smaller

After a controversial four-month review of 27 U.S. national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke won’t recommend that the White House do away with any of them. He did say, however, that “a handful of sites” could see their boundaries changed or shrunken, says the Associated Press.

Study: Rural America helps poor kids earn more money later in life

Poor children growing up in three out of four rural counties — especially in the Great Plains — are more likely to earn more than the national average by the age of 26 than their counterparts in cities, says a national study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Just 29 percent of kids in densely populated urban centers earn more than the national average as adults.

Multiple studies say rate of sea level rise is growing

At least the third study in a year has found that the rate of sea level rise is increasing. A recent report in Nature Climate Change said that the rate of sea level rise had grown from 2.2 millimeters per year in 1993 to a 3.3-millimeter annual rise in 2014.

Zinke defends massive cuts to Interior Department

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that he supports the White House's proposal to cut his department's budget by $1.6 billion, saying "this is what a balanced budget looks like."

Why you don’t see American pine nuts in stores

Faced with climate change and cheap competition from countries like China, the American pine nut trade shows no signs of recovery. Long a staple food for Native American tribes in the Southwest, including the Navajo and Apache, 8 million pounds of pine nuts were wild-harvested in 1942, from New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.

Zinke tours Bears Ears, says Native Americans are ‘smart, capable’

During the first day of his tour of Bears Ears National Monument, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke disagreed with Utah officials who have claimed that Native Americans who support the monument are manipulated by special interest groups, says The Salt Lake Tribune.