Alaska Farm Bureau News                                                                 January 2021

A Note from Your Executive Director

Greetings!

Happy New Year! May 2021 continue to place importance on local agriculture, building Alaska's food security and diversifying our economy!

November 1st started a new membership year - if you haven't renewed already you can take care of that on our website here.

All the best,

Amy


Amy Seitz
Executive Director

Alaska Farm Bureau

37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669 

FINAL WEEK TO REGISTER!

American Farm Bureau Federation is holding the 2021 Annual Convention virtually - registration is open and FREE! This is a great opportunity to participate in Convention.

To see the schedule of events and register, click here.
ON THE HILL
 
Governor's budget places importance on agriculture programs. Governor Dunleavy released his budget in December, budget highlights for agriculture:
  • Division of Agriculture: $5,679,400 (663,700 increase over FY 21)
  • DEC, Environmental Health (Office of the State Vet) - $17,380,100 (same)
  • University: University system is receiving cuts. We encourage members to reach out to the Board of Regents to express the importance of funding agriculture programs (CES, Experiment Farms, 4-H, FFA, etc)
  • Capital Budget:
    • Dept. of Corrections - $1.5 million for Produce Processing Facility @ Pt. Mackenzie Correctional Farm
    • Dept. of Natural Resources - $4.5 for Specialty Crop Block Grants
The start of a new year brings the start of a new legislative session. The 32 Legislature is scheduled to begin January 19th, 2021. We look forward to working with returning and new legislators to ensure we have ag friendly policies in place. You can find information on bills, hearings and other resources when the session starts at akleg.gov.

Gravel Pit on Mat-Su Experiment Farm? The University has been considering a gravel pit on the Mat-Su Greenbelt which incorporates part of the Mat-Su Experiment Farm. Members are encouraged to contact the Board of Regents opposing a gravel pit on the experiment farm lands, these lands should be used to find innovative ways to expand agriculture in Alaska! More information on advocacy efforts can be found at Save the Matanuska Greenbelt
PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS
Farm Children - "Grandpa's Best Farm Hand" submitted by Bob Green
Farm Scenes - "Summer Snackin'" submitted by Julia Mugrage
Farm Animals - "For the Last Time, I am not a Chicken Nugget!" submitted by Meghan Orona
People's Choice - "Where the Wild Marshmallows Roam" submitted by Kevin Fochs
LOOKING FOR BOOKKEEPER & WEBMASTER

Alaska Farm Bureau is accepting bids from those interested in bookkeeper/tax preparer or webmaster positions. We are lucky and have greatly appreciated the time and energy Eileen with North Star Bookkeeping and Wendy with 23Kazoos have put in!

These positions are contract hire jobs, providing a monthly stipend. Bids can be submitted by January 11th to Alaska Farm Bureau, 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 9966 or emailed to Amy.Seitz@gmail.com

Bookkeeper/tax preparer: Maintain & update AKFB financial information, payroll, tax preparation (AKFB & 6 chapters), act as registered agent for AKFB & 6 chapters, work with ED on annual budget, attend Annual Meeting for financials presentation.

Webmaster: Manage Alaska Farm Bureau's webpage, manage social media and assist with newsletters through Constant Contact.

Questions? Contact Amy Seitz @ 907-252-5064 or Amy.Seitz@gmail.com
WEBINAR OPPORTUNITY: PORK PRODUCERS

The Pork Checkoff and Niche Pork: Resources, consumer trends, and producer voices

When: Thursday, January 21st from 9-10am PST/12-1pm EST
Register here:

Discuss the value, insights, and resources the Pork Checkoff brings to the niche producer community. Also hear from three niche pork producers about their marketing, consumer engagement and trends.

Speakers include:
  • Todd Rodibaugh - Director of Producer and State Engagement, National Pork Board. Todd has been involved in the pork industry throughout his career with the last 10 years holding various roles at the National Pork Board, currently working to support producers.
  • Matt Beach - An independent, niche producer from Missouri. Matt is an entrepreneur and has been involved with the National Pork Board through the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA), Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) and Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA).
  • Logan Thornton - Producer from Flying Pig Farm (Kuna, Idaho). Logan and his father Brad have been providing quality pigs for quality pork in the Treasure Valley area for over 30 years.  Over the last 5 years they have been growing and improving their Berkshire breeding herd.
  • Last speaker TBA
This webinar is sponsored by the National Pork Board.

Pre-register at least 10 minutes before the webinar starts:
https://oregonstate.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VXPo1W2IRje-fLvXXkSf3w
AFPC Quarterly Food Systems Discussion: Transportation

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ 12:00-1:30pm
 
Join the Alaska Food Policy Council for a working lunch session on food transportation in Alaska. 

The first in AFPC's 2021 series on Alaska food systems issues, the Alaska Food Policy Council invites you to attend this hour and a half presentation and working session on food transportation in Alaska. Kicking it off with a background presentation on food transport state-of-affairs and challenges in the state, followed by an expert panel. The session will end with an active breakout session to gather feedback and thoughts from the greater Alaskan community on the issues presented. Feedback will then be aggregated and distributed to the group after the session has ended.

More information can be found here.
New COVID Package Helps Farmers Previously Left out of Aid


December 21, 2020

Congress agreed on a $900 billion COVID stimulus package, which will include up to $13 billion in funding that directly benefits agriculture. Nearly $1 billion will support a dairy donation program and supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for small and medium-sized producers. More help will be made available to specialty and non-specialty crop growers, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be expanded, which will allow small farmers to continue operating and paying their employees.

Many farmers and ranchers who were previously left out of aid will now qualify for assistance, including growers who were forced to euthanize livestock during the initial wave of the pandemic.

The American Farm Bureau Federation worked for several months to ensure the needs of America's farmers and ranchers were brought forward to lawmakers as they considered the latest stimulus package.

"We're pleased that Congress understands the toll the pandemic continues to take on farmers, ranchers and rural Americans," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "Farmers who were left out of previous aid packages or whose losses were far more devastating than recognized in initial aid are grateful that their families will be helped, too. We recognize the need is great across our entire economy and farm families will join the rest of America in our determination to recover from the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Highlights of the coronavirus stimulus bill include:

80% reimbursement for losses due to premature euthanization or canceled orders.

$20 per planted acre for non-specialty crops.

Crop insurance payments and disaster payments may be used to calculate 2019 sales.

$7 billion is allocated for broadband, including $300 million for rural broadband and $250 million for telehealth.

PPP funding may be used for COVID mitigation expenses.
Expenses paid with PPP loans will now be allowed as a tax deduction.

15% increase in SNAP benefits.

Read the Market Intel on the COVID relief package.

CONTACT:
Mike Tomko
Director, Communications
(202) 406-3642
 
Bailey Corwine
Media Relations Specialist
(202) 406-3643

BRUCE WILLARD SCHOLARSHIP
APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED
DEADLINE: APRIL 23, 2021

Thanks to all of those who donated to the Bruce Willard Scholarship Auction! And those who bid on auction items! We could not offer these scholarships without your support!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS! NAPA, Delta Building Supply, Stu Davies, Karl & Eda Jewett, Mat-Su Experiment Farm & Extension Center, Jane Conway, Karin Marks, Paula Williams, Bryan Scoresby, Mugrage's - Great Alaska Cattle Drive, Kelli Foreman, Rita Jo Shoultz.

Alaska Farm Bureau will award two $2,000 scholarships to students pursuing an agricultural or natural resource field through college, trade school or vocational training. The program is available to students already enrolled in a college, trade school or in vocational training, as well as graduating high school seniors.

Applications are due by April 23, 2021 and can be submitted by mail to Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc. 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email amy.seitz@gmail.com.

You can print an application here.
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