The World Food Prize Foundation

2021 Borlaug Dialogue Speakers

Janie Simms Hipp

General Counsel; Chief Legal Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Janie Simms Hipp, J.D., LL.M was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden and subsequently confirmed by the United States Senate and is currently serving as the General Counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She is the first Native American woman to serve in that post in USDA’s history.  

Her legal career in agricultural law began in the 1980s serving as an advocate for farmers and ranchers during the farm financial crisis and has spanned. Ms. Hipp received an LL.M. in Agriculture Law from the University of Arkansas and was a professor of agricultural law and food policy for decades. 

She served previously as National Program Leader at USDA NIFA leading programs in agriculture risk management, farm financial management, trade adjustment assistance and the beginning farmer and rancher program and led the Risk Management Education Division within USDA RMA.  She went on to serve Secretary Vilsack in the Obama-Biden administration as Senior Advisor for Tribal Relations and founded the USDA Office of Tribal Relations. She also founded the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and served as CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization serving the needs of Native farmers and ranchers.  She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

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