Alaska Farm Bureau News
April 2016
Greetings!

Spring is here - and with spring comes Alaska Ag Day!  What are you doing to celebrate Alaska Ag Day on May 3rd?  We would love to hear what you're doing, and of course take pictures and let us share them - it may give others ideas for future years.

Be sure and read through the newsletter - there are several grant opportunities coming up and other important information.

I hope everyone is having a great spring and ready for summer!  Be sure and take lots of pictures to submit in our annual photo contest.  All Farm Bureau members and their minor children are eligible to participate.

There are three categories:  Farm Scenery, Country Children and Farm Animals.  Members may enter as many photographs and in as many categories as they wish.  Winners of the three categories as well as People's Choice are awarded $100.00. 


Best wishes,

Amy Seitz, Executive Director

37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669 
907-252-5064 








Agriculture Education Mini-Grant 
 

The Alaska Farm Bureau is accepting applications for the Agriculture Education Mini-Grant.  This program is in its second year; open to individuals and organizations with the purpose of increasing agriculture awareness, knowledge and appreciation statewide. 
 
Grant committee members were impressed with the number of applications and quality of proposed projects in the programs first year and are excited at the prospects for 2016.


Information on the application process can be found here.

Application deadline is May 20, 2016 and can be submitted by mail to 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email amy.seitz@gmail.com 
    
USDA Seeks Nominations
for the National Organic Standards Board
 
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is a Federal Advisory Committee that provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act. NOSB members are volunteers and come from across the organic community. Each member is appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to a five-year term.

The USDA and the Agricultural Marketing service (AMS) seeks nominations for the following five (5) positions to serve on the NOSB from January 2017 to January 2022:
  • Organic producer who owns or operates an organic operation;
  • Individual with expertise in areas of environmental protection and resource conservation;
  • Representative of a public or consumer interest group;
  • Organic handler or processor who owns or operates an organic handling operation; and
  • Scientist (toxicology, ecology or biochemistry).
Additionally, the USDA is seeking nominations for a pool of candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the seven position categories, should unexpected vacancies occur. A person appointed to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the 5-year term of the vacant position. 
Committee member duties include:
  • Attending committee meetings (travel paid by USDA)
  • Participating in bi-monthly subcommittee conference calls
  • Reviewing materials and/or recommending changes to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
  • Advising the Secretary on other aspects of the USDA organic regulations
Written nominations must include a cover letter, resume, and an AD-755 Application Form, and must be postmarked on or before June 3, 2016.

More Information:
 For more information, visit the NOSB Nominations Webpage.  
 

2016 Legislative Session Wrapping Up

 
The 2016 Legislative Session is coming to an end. The Conference Committee reviewing the operating budget is busy going through items that were different in the House version and Senate version. In the Division of Agriculture there were two major differences: The House cut the potato program and an additional $335,000 from the Plant Materials Center while the Senate kept them in.
We are happy to see that the Conference Committee opted for the Senate numbers for the Division of Agriculture.

            Mt. McKinley Meat & Sausage received another one-time increment funding to allow time to transition into private operation.

            Plant Materials Center will keep the potato program and keep the $335,000 that had been proposed as a cut. The PMC did receive intent language as follows;

"it is the intent of the legislature that the Division of Agriculture's Plant Material Center evaluate its programs to determine which of its functions can be performed by other entities, such as the private sector or non-profits. Programs should also be evaluated to determine if there are additional cost-recovery methods that can be implemented, such as additional fees or fee increases."  
 
Legislation passed this session:

HB 100    UREA/AMMONIA/GAS-LIQ FACILITY; TAX CREDIT - House Bill 100 seeks to incentivize the production of certain value-added products that use as their feed stock natural gas from state leases.

CSHB 100 (FIN) allows a company that produces urea, ammonia or gas to liquid products to credit their taxes under AS43.20 if they purchase gas from a state lease. The credit is only available for a limited time and cannot be carried forward from one year to the next.
 

Western SARE Grants

Calls for Proposals 
 
SARE has issued Calls for Proposals on five grant programs; Research & Education, Professional Development Program, Farmer/Rancher, Professional + Producer, and Graduate Student.
 
The Western SARE Administrative Council will select reviewed proposals that are innovative, diverse in content, subject matter, and geography; demonstrate tangible outcomes; and provide readily adaptable technologies and information suitable to the adoption of sustainable farming and ranching systems by producers in the western region.
 
1. Research & Education Grants
            

These grants - also known as  Chapter 1 for their designation in the enabling legislation - involve scientists, producers, and others using interdisciplinary approaches to address issues related to sustaining agriculture. The 2017 Call for Pre-Proposals will be issued in April 2016, with pre-proposals due in June 2016. Following scrutiny by a technical review panel of scientists, agency personnel, producers, and others, presenters of the best pre-proposals will be asked to submit full proposals, due in November 2016. Full proposals will undergo technical review in January 2017, and the Western SARE Administrative Council will select proposals for funding in March 2017.

2. Professional Development Program Grants


These grants focus on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices. PDP Grants are limited to $75,000. Grants can run for up to three years, with the final year to be focused on project evaluation. The 2017 Call for Proposals will open in April 2016, with proposals due October or November 2016. Proposals will be reviewed by a technical panel in January 2017, and the Western SARE Administrative Council will select proposals for funding in March 2017.

3. Farmer/Rancher Grants
            Call for Proposal
These one- to three-year grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $20,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $25,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production. The 2017 Call for Proposals will open in April 2016, with proposals due in December 2016. A technical review will be held in January 2017, and proposals will be selected for funding in March 2017.

4. Professional + Producer Grants


These one- to three-year grants are similar in concept to the Farmer/Rancher Grants with a few key differences. Instead of a producer serving as the project coordinator, an agricultural professional coordinates the project. A farmer or rancher serves as the project advisor. Applicants can seek up to $50,000 and must have at least five producers involved. The Call for Proposals for Professional + Producer Grants will open in April 2016, with proposals due in December 2016. A technical review will be held in January 2017, and proposals will be selected for funding in March 2017.



The Graduate Student Grants provide a maximum of $25,000 and may last for up to two years. Those eligible to apply are masters or Ph.D. students enrolled full time (as determined by the institution's requirements) at accredited colleges or universities in the Western region. An applicant is eligible for only one grant during his or her graduate program. Proposals are due May 11, 2016. Proposals are reviewed by a technical review panel and the Western SARE Administrative Council selects proposals for funding in July. Award notifications are made in August.
 
If after review of the different grants available, you wish to begin your application, please click here to view SARE's one-stop grants page. Any questions, please contact:
 
Utah State University

4865 Old Main Hill
Logan UT 84322-4865
(435) 797- 2257
or contact your State Coordinator for more assistance.
 

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Agricultural Producers Increase the Value of Their Products

 

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.

 

"America's farmers, ranchers and rural business owners are innovative entrepreneurs and this program helps them grow economic opportunities for their families and communities by increasing the value of the items they produce," Vilsack said. "The Value-Added Producer Grant program has a great track record of helping producers increase the value of products and expand their markets and customer base, strengthening rural America in the process."

 

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches.

 

Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.

 

More information on how to apply is on page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county.

 

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 1,126 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $144.7 million. USDA awarded 205 grants to beginning farmers and ranchers.

 

Value-Added Producer Grants are a key element of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the Department's work to develop local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack describes the cultivation of local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of rural economic development that impacts farm family income and strengthens local economies. 

 

Under Secretary Vilsack, USDA has supported providing consumers a stronger connection to their food with more than $1 billion in investments to over 40,000 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects since between 2009. Industry data estimates that U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008. 

 

More information on how USDA investments are connecting producers with consumers and expanding rural economic opportunities is available in Chapter IV of USDA Results on Medium.

 

Two examples of Value-Added Producer Grant awards from 2015 include:

  • Shoshone-Bannock Enterprises in Fort Hall, Idaho, received a $75,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study on processing, packaging and marketing buffalo meat, a first step in identifying potential new market opportunities.
  • Sappa Valley Poultry in Oberlin, Kan., received a $49,663 grant to expand distribution of their free-range chicken products into eastern Colorado and western Kansas markets.

Congress increased funding for the Value-Added program in the 2014 Farm Bill. That law builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

 

Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested $11 billion to start or expand 103,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 7,000 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; financed 180,000 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is seeking applications for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). The VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve three years in a NIFA designated veterinarian shortage situation. 

Areas in Alaska that have received this designation in 2016 are; Delta Junction to Fairbanks, Kenai Peninsula, Mat-Su Borough, Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands.

The application deadline is May 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm Eastern.
 
EVENTS
 
May 3: Alaska Agriculture Day

May 20: Deadline to submit applications for the Alaska Farm Bureau's Agriculture Education Mini-Grant.

August 5-14: Tanana Valley State Fair

August 19-21: Kenai Peninsula Fair

August 25-Sept 5: Alaska State Fair
 

MEMBER BENEFITS

view all benefits here
 
The Grainger Choice badge signals a broad selection of products that deliver quality and value, brought to you by  Grainger

This Earth Day, consider switching to LumaPro LED lightbulbs, available through Grainger. LED lighting has better energy efficiency, longer life and doesn't require warm-up time. Take a look at this infographic   to learn more about LED lighting. A fact sheet on LumaPro's LED lamps is available here .


   
NEW! Discounts on dental added to the prescription drug program offered to Alaska Farm Bureau members. UNA is working with AETNA to provide discounts for dental services to Alaska Farm Bureau members. Login following the steps below to access dental + prescription card as well as look up information on providers and estimated discounts.
 
** THIS IS NOT INSURANCE. It is a discount program. The amount of discount you receive will vary depending on the services and the network provider's contract. The program and its administrators have no liability for providing or guaranteeing service or the quality of service rendered
How To Sign Up
For Your FREE AETNA Dental + Prescription Discount Card:
 
Enter: Your Name       Password: AETNAFBRXAK
2. Print out a copy of the card or screen shot a photo of it on a cell phone
3. Present the card at a participating pharmacy or dental office.
 
Save Money on Dental Care and Prescriptions.  
 
 
Dental Card Questions? Call 1-888-331-9711      
Prescription Card Questions? Call 1-877-321-6755
 
Classifieds

Wanted - 30 Wiener Pigs: Looking for Alaskan raised wiener pigs, need all same size weight ~ 50# mid may. Contact Mary Lambe, 907-398-4282.

Surplus Elk for Trade: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center has surplus elk to trade for Canadian descendant reindeer. We also will trade elk for quality hay. Raising elk requires a permit and fencing standards provided by the Division of Agriculture. If interested in trading please contact Mike Miller at mike@alaskawildlife.org
or 301-7942

Looking for Land to Lease for Cattle Grazing: Top dollars paid for land to lease suitable to graze cattle. Minimum acreage 40 acres. On the Kenai Peninsula. Please contact Robert Gibson at 907-598-2000.

Heavy Duty Truck Financing: Our company specializes in heavy duty truck financing and can work with blemished credit and startups. We do not sell any equipment, we only arrange financing. You can select the truck and/or trailer vendor of your choice. There is no cost or obligation to determine if you qualify. To learn more contact us by phone, 708-646-6510 or email truck.capitalinvestment@outlook.com . If you contact us by email include your contact number and any equipment that you own (free and clear), if applicable.

We Buy Berries: Bear Creek Winery is family owned and operated and we are a farm to table operation. Our award winning wines are so popular that we cannot grow enough berries to keep up with demand, so we also buy berries from local farmers. Please keep us in mind if you are thinking of growing or need a buyer for any of the following crops: Raspberries, Black Currants, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Apples, and Blueberries. Contact Louis at 907-235-8484
 
Computer Repair, Networking & IT Consulting: The goal of AK Bits and Bytes, LLC is to provide exceptional customer service, and professional results at a reasonable price. You can place your technology needs in our hands and no longer worry about them. We offer expert confidential solutions you can trust.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be your technology solutions provider. If you are happy with us, send your friends, if you are not call us to make it right for you.

We repair all brands of personal computers desktop or Laptops. Hardware or software, we'll fix your computer and get it running properly. Certified Tech and fast friendly service. Call for an appointment. Available 7 days a week. Discounts to Alaska Farm Bureau members.
Visit website . Contact Lisa McDonald: 907-398-3994

100% Alaska Grown Wine:  Alaska Berries, located near Soldotna, is the first and only Estate winery in Alaska. An estate winery is one that grows ALL of its fruit used in its wine. Our business hours are Wed - Sun from 2:00 to 7:00pm. Come visit our tasting room and sample our wines before you buy. At this time we are not shipping wine. Contact Brian Olson, 907-252-8511

Fairbanks Farm For Sale: Arctic Roots Farm, Bed and Breakfast at 1293 Esro Road, off Chena Hot Springs Road. The parcel includes 25 acres of brome grass, 30 acres of birch forest, a 1-acre moose-proof orchard/garden, a 20'x 48' high tunnel and a 20' x 48 greenhouse with drip irrigation. There are 3 homes - a farmhouse and two modern homes which are used as an agra-tourism bed and breakfast, a large shop with a heated utility room, a large barn with sheep handling corrals, a chicken coop, root cellar, and 30 acres with a 5' stock fence. Contact owner Chris DuBois at 907-750-1514 for more information. It is listed with Joe Russo at Russo Reality. Joe can be reached at 907-460-8555.

Rams for Sale: Black Welch Mountain rams. Very gentle. $300 each. Nancy Davidian and Chris DuBois, Arctic Roots Farm. Contact them at 907-750-1514.

Land For Sale: 70 acres in Salcha. It has Richardson Highway frontage and is near Milepost 315. There is a small stream on the property. $42,000. Contact Ann Geise at 907-895-4466.

Locally Grown Food Wanted : The center for Alaskan Coastal Studies hosts a number of camps and overnight programs at our Peterson Bay Field Station throughout the course of the summer. We provide meals for participants during the programs and would like to source more of our food locally and sustainably. The Center is a 501 © (3) environmental education organization in Homer. It was established in 1982. E-mail Melanie@akcoastalstudies.org for more information. Telephone: 907-235-6667.

40 Acres for Sale in North Pole: Gorgeous parcel that is a mix of large spruce, birch, willow and grassland. East borders Chena Lake Recreation Area at the end of Repp Road in North Pole. Great spot for farm, rural estate or hunting/fishing aurora-viewing lodge. Can be subdivided into 5-acre lots. Short walk to river or lake. Road access, power about ¼ mile away. Very private, but easy access to town. Owner financing is available. $85.000 OBO. Contact Tracey Pulido at info@chenalakesfarm.com . See photos on Fairbanks Craigslist.
 
Classified Ads are free. Submit your ad to the newsletter editor at amy.seitz@gmail.com or by calling 907-252-5064.

Alaska Farm Bureau
37075 Nicholas View Lane 
Soldotna, AK 99669

Call  907-252-5064 or send an  e-mail to:  amy.seitz@gmail.com
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