Idaho is home to five Indian Tribal organizations. These are the Coeur d'Alene Tribe in Plummer, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho in Bonners Ferry, the Nez Perce Tribe in Lapwai, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe in Ft. Hall, and the Shoshone-Paiute of Duck Valley.


Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)


In fiscal year 2008, FDPIR provided benefits to an average of over 88,000 individuals per month in 271 tribes, at a cost of $88.5 million. Approximately $34.7 million of this was designated for local administrative expenses, and the remainder for food purchases. Program rules require that “[t]he food package offered to each household shall [provide] an opportunity to obtain a more nutritious diet and shall represent an acceptable nutritional alternative to Food Stamp Program benefits.” (FDPIR) USDA offers nearly 100 different items. Participating tribes choose within food categories which items to provide to participants based on their storage capabilities and client needs and preferences.

While specific information is limited on the health and nutritional challenges facing those FDPIR serves, American Indians in general face high rates of overweight, obesity and diabetes. Over 16 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native adults served by the Indian Health Service have been diagnosed with diabetes, about twice the rate found in U.S. non-Hispanic whites. Diabetes-related mortality for these groups is about three times the national rate. In addition, up to 75 percent of American Indians are lactose intolerant, potentially limiting their use of low-cost dairy products and presenting a challenge in delivering adequate calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

1. What is the FDPIR?

FDPIR provides commodity foods to low-income households living on Indian reservations, and to American Indian households residing in approved areas near reservations or in Oklahoma. Many households participate in the FDPIR as an alternative to the Food Stamp Program, because they do not have easy access to food stamp offices or authorized food stores. The program is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FDPIR is administered locally by either Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) or an agency of a State government. Currently, there are approximately 271 tribes receiving benefits under FDPIR through 99 ITOs and 5

State agencies. USDA purchases and ships commodities to the ITOs and State agencies. Commodities are selected from a list of available foods. These administering agencies store and distribute the foods, determine applicant eligibility, and provide nutrition education to recipients. USDA provides the administering agencies with funds for program administrative costs. FDPIR is authorized under Section 4(b) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977, and Section 4(a) of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973. FDPIR is authorized through 2012.

2. What are the eligibility requirements for FDPIR?

Low-income American Indian and non-Indian households that reside on a reservation and households living in approved areas near a reservation or in Oklahoma that contain at least one person who is a member of a Federally-recognized tribe, are eligible to participate in FDPIR. Households are certified based on income and resource standards set by the Federal government, and must be recertified at least every 12 months. Households may not participate in FDPIR and the Food Stamp Program in the same month.

3. What foods are available through FDPIR?

Each month, participating households receive a food package to help them maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. Participants may select from over 70 products including:

  •  frozen ground beef, beef roast, turkey ham and chicken; canned meats, poultry and fish
  •  canned fruits and vegetables; canned soups; and spaghetti sauce
  •  macaroni and cheese; pastas; cereals; rice; and other grains;
  •  cheese; egg mix; and low-fat ultra high temperature milk, nonfat dry milk and evaporated milk
  •  flour; cornmeal; bakery mix; and reduced sodium crackers
  •  low-fat refried beans; dried beans; and dehydrated potatoes
  •  canned juices and dried fruit
  •  peanuts and peanut butter
  •  vegetable oil

Participants on most reservations can choose fresh produce instead of canned fruits and vegetables. For a complete list of Foods Available for FDPIR for FY 2008, visit the Food Distribution web site at:

4. Does the program provide information about health and nutrition?

Yes, USDA provides information about nutrition, and suggestions for making the most nutritious use of commodity foods. Available materials include:

  • A series of 12 “Healthy Eating in Indian Country” fact sheets, accessible on the web site at:


  •  Commodity food fact sheets that provide storage, preparation tips, nutrition information and recipes, accessible on the web site at:


  •  “A River of Recipes: Native American Recipes Using Commodity Foods” – A collection of tried and true recipes submitted by program participants. Accessible on the web site at:


Administering agencies are responsible for providing nutrition education to participants. Federal administrative funding is available for these activities, which can include individual nutrition counseling, cooking demonstrations, nutrition classes, and the dissemination of information on how commodities may be used to contribute to a nutritious diet and on the proper storage of commodities.

5. How many people participate in the program, and what does it cost?

Average monthly participation for fiscal year 2007 was 86,622 individuals. In fiscal year 2008 $88.5 million was appropriated for FDPIR—approximately $34.7 million for the Federal share of local level administrative costs, and the remainder for food purchases. In addition to foods purchased with funds appropriated specifically for FDPIR, foods purchased under agricultural support programs may be used to support the program.

6. Where can I go for more information?

Here is the contact information for the FDPIR offices serving Idaho reservations.

Mr. AC Sanchez
Director, Food Distribution Program
Coeur D'Alene Tribe of Idaho 
P.O. Box 408
Plummer, Idaho 83876
Tel: (208) 686-4041
Fax: (208) 686-5009
Areas of Operation: (2) Coeur D'Alene and Kootenai Reservations

Ms. Georgia Barros
Director, Food Distribution Program
The Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho
107 Lolo
P.O. Box 365
Lapwai, Idaho 83540
Tel: (208) 843-7305 x 3854
Fax: (208) 843-7401
Areas of Operation: (1) Nez Perce Reservation

Ms. Alice M. Yellowhair
Director, Commodity Distribution Program 
The Shoshone Bannock Tribes
P.O. Box 306
Fort Hall, Idaho 83203
Tel: (208) 478-3918
Fax: (208) 478-3917
Areas of Operation: (1) Fort Hall Reservation

Mr. Steve Pursley
Director, Food Distribution Program
Shoshone Paiute Tribal Council 
P.O. Box 219
Owyhee, Nevada 89832
Tel: (775) 757-3131
Fax: (775) 757-3132
Areas of Operation: (1) Duck Valley Reservation


For more information, visit or your FNS regional office. You may also e-mail at: