Hay Barrels

cooperating to enhance native american food economies

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Janie Simms hipp, j.d., ll.m.

CEO, Native American Agriculture Fund

Before serving as CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund, Janie Simms Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, was the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas. Prior to launching the initiative, she served as national program leader for Farm Financial Management, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Risk Management Education, and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development programs at the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

She was thereafter selected as the senior advisor for tribal relations to Secretary Tom Vilsack and director of the Office of Tribal Relations. Prior to her work in Washington, D.C., at the national level, she has enjoyed a lengthy domestic and international career spanning more than 35 years in the agriculture sector as an agriculture and food lawyer and policy expert. Her work focuses on the complex intersection of Indian law and agriculture and food law.

Ms. Hipp holds a JD from Oklahoma City University and an LL.M. in agriculture and food law from the University of Arkansas. She is the author of numerous publications, most recently joining with Wilson Pipestem, J.D., and Crystal EchoHawk to author the Feeding Ourselves report and thereafter the Regaining our Future report with Colby Duren, J.D. She serves as an advisor to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Seeds of Native Health campaign and numerous other campaigns focusing on food, agriculture, health and economic development in Indian Country.

She most recently has received the National Center for American Indian Economic Development’s 2017 Tim Wapato Public Advocate of the Year Award.

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doug O'brien

President & CEO, NCBA CLUSA

Doug O'Brien works with the cooperative community, both domestically and internationally, to deepen their impact and influence. NCBA is the primary voice for cooperatives in the United States for using the cooperative business model to empower people in their businesses and communities. Doug has been with NCBA since 2016 and became president and CEO in January 2018.


Before coming to NCBA CLUSA, Doug led the work of the White House Rural Council and served in top positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Doug has also worked in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and for two Governors. O'Brien's experience in academia includes teaching and writing at the University of Arkansas and Drake University Law School.


O’Brien was raised on a diversified farm in Dubuque County, Iowa, and holds degrees from Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa), the University of Iowa Law School, and the University of Arkansas Masters in Agricultural and Food Law Program. O’Brien lives in Takoma Park, Maryland, with his wife, Alisa and three children. He enjoys biking, travel, his memberships in a number of consumer co-ops and credit unions.

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