Zach Ducheneaux has made history as the first Native American to be named Farm Service Agency Administrator.
The Biden Administration on Feb. 19 announced Ducheneaux's appointment to lead FSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ducheneaux and his family run DX Ranch on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Prior to his appointment to FSA, he served as the executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, where he used agriculture as an economic development tool in Indian Country. The Intertribal Agriculture Council is the largest, longest-standing Native American agriculture organization in the United State, representing all Federally Recognized Tribes and serving 80,000 Native American producers.
Read more about DX Ranch: South Dakota's DX Ranch takes regenerative agriculture direct to consumers
Ducheneaux has been with the Council since the 1990s in various leadership positions, including as former tribal council representative for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He said that experience will transition well as head of FSA.
"What Indian Country has been doing in agriculture holds a lot of promise for solution building and knocking down barriers. And I'm very excited for the opportunity to do it within the Farm Service Agency," he said.
Ducheneaux also worked to reshape ag finance in Indian Country and hopes to apply that experience to make FSA guaranteed loans and other programs more targeted and effective for farmers.
"It's always about the commitment to the farmers. I think there's a great opportunity there to change it to, what can we do, instead of, what's the bare minimum we have to do," he said.
He also wants to position agriculture to win in the administration's climate change plan.
Ducheneaux also serves on the board of directors for Project H3LP!, a nonprofit founded by his family to benefit his local community by providing life lessons and therapy through horsemanship.