News from Alaska Farm Bureau
April 2018
Alaska Farm Bureau News
Oh boy, have things been busy this legislative session!  Several bills have been moving through the legislature - read through the newsletter to see what bills of interest are moving and where they're at in the process.  Did you know you can track bills and   watch committee meetings has many resources for things like following bills, looking up laws, and contacting legislators.    
There's still time to submit applications for the   Bruce Willard Scholarship and the Agriculture Education mini-grant; keep reading for more information on these two programs.
Have you turned in your USDA Census of Agriculture yet?  NASS will continue to follow-up with those who received the questionnaire through spring.  If you haven't filled it out yet you can go to to fill it out online.
Hope everyone is having a happy spring! 

Amy Seitz, Executive Director

37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669 

PS. Do you still need to renew your Farm Bureau membership this year? Or, have you been meaning to join and just haven't gotten around to it? Join/renew on our website - 
Bruce Willard

Alaska Farm Bureau will award one (1) $2,000 scholarship to a student 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 20, 2018, can be submitted by mail to Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc. 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email
You can print an application   here.


The Alaska Farm Bureau is accepting applications for the Agriculture Education Mini-Grant. This program is in its fourth year; open to individuals and organizations with the purpose of increasing agriculture awareness, knowledge and appreciation to youth statewide.
Due to the interest this grant has been receiving in the first two years, the Board of Directors decided to increase the budgeted amount to $20,000. The grant committee will review applications and notify awardees by June 1, 2018.  
Information on the application process can be found here.
Application deadline is May 15, 2018 and can be submitted by mail to 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email

2018 Legislation Affecting Alaska Producers

What's Moving And Where It's At   

HB 217 Sponsored by Representative Tarr, this bill has had several changes made to it but continues to support agriculture through multiple points:
  • Limiting liability for agritourism (identified as "farm touring" in the bill).  
  • Increases the product preference for Alaska Grown to allow for purchases of products within 15% of other similar products.  
  • Allow the Division of Agriculture to have receipt authority so they can collect on purchases of Alaska Grown marketing tools like labels, twist ties, etc. This will give the division the ability to continue building their marketing program and provide marketing materials to producers at a low price.
HB 217 has moved from the House and is awaiting a hearing in Senate Resources.

  SB 6  Industrial Hemp Production                                         

Sponsor: Senator Hughes
We are always looking for ways to expand opportunities for Alaska's farmers. Industrial hemp has a huge market worldwide with over 25,000 different uses from food and fiber to building materials and cosmetics. Industrial hemp use to be a significant agricultural crop in the U.S. until it was reclassified as a controlled substance. Changing industrial hemp back to an agricultural crop and allowing farmers to experiment with growing it could expand business opportunities in Alaska.
This bill has passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature!

SB 163Definition of Commercial Motor Vehicles           
Sponsor: Rules Committee by Request of the Governor   
Farmers generally must travel many miles to reach markets, make deliveries or pick up supplies. The commercial motor vehicle exemption for farm vehicles was limited to use within 150 miles of the farmer's farm. In Alaska, 150 miles wouldn't get many farmers to markets or allow them to haul supplies. SB 163 amends the farm vehicle exemption from 150 miles to statewide travel.
SB 163 has made its way through both the Senate and House committees and just needs to pass the House Floor.

HB 315 -    Confidentiality of animal and crop records
Sponsor: Rules Committee by Request of the Governor
Alaska's farmers provide certain information to the state to comply with state and federal laws; import records, test results, farm locations, etc. There is currently no confidentiality to protect these records which have personal and identifiable information and in some cases directly related to farming businesses.

The public would still have access to general information on imports coming into the state and overall testing information; identifiable information would be protected.
In the case of a threat to health or safety, necessary information would be released to take appropriate steps to mitigate the threat.
HB 315 is waiting to be scheduled on the House Floor, then will most likely meet up with its companion bill, SB 164, in Senate Resources.

HB 197 - Community Seed Libraries
Sponsor: Representative Johnston
Increasing food security in Alaska is important to the Alaska Farm Bureau. Reducing labeling and testing laws for noncommercial batches of seeds and allowing a place for individuals to share or exchange non-patented seed is one step to help Alaskans provide for themselves. This bill is not restricting Community Seed Libraries, it is to allow these seed libraries.
HB 197 is scheduled for a hearing and public testimony in Senate Resources on Monday April 16th at 3:30pm.

HCR 23 -  Supporting enhanced efforts to protect wildlife and domestic animals in the state from infectious diseases, foreign pathogens, and nonendemic parasites.
While the idea of encouraging state agencies to protect domestic animals and wildlife from disease, pathogens and parasites is something we should all do, it is important to make sure any actions are based on facts and science.  House Resources amended this resolution to include language that would encourage agencies to gather the data to be able to make a science-based decision for management.  

This resolution is being used by a wildlife organization to bring the wild/domestic sheep & goat issue before the legislature and pitch their agenda of mandatory testing and other expensive regulations on sheep & goat owners.
HCR 23 is scheduled on the House Floor, if it passes, it is also scheduled for a hearing in Senate Resources on Monday April 16th at 3:30pm.

President Trump Signs Omnibus  
With President Donald Trump's signature earlier today, the 2018 omnibus spending bill-and the several provisions that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural communities it includes-became law. The measure, which was a must-pass to avert a government shutdown, was approved in quick succession by the House and Senate on Thursday and the wee hours of Friday morning, respectively.

The omnibus amends the cooperative tax deduction (Section 199A) to restore balance to commodity markets and re-establish fairness between cooperative and non-cooperative farmers. It also clarifies that air emissions from animal waste at a farm are not applicable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

In addition, the legislation provides agricultural haulers a reprieve from the electronic logging device mandate through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal year 2018. Currently, haulers transporting livestock and insects have a 90-day waiver through June 18 from the mandate.

Other provisions important to agriculture and rural communities include a pilot program related to county-level agricultural risk coverage payments; critical forest management reforms, including allowing the U.S. Forest Service to adjust its cap when its fire-suppression budget goes above the 10-year average; a pilot program to allocate $625 million for broadband service in underserved and unserved areas; and funding for a wide array of federal programs within USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and other departments and agencies.

While Farm Bureau supported the legislation, the group noted it's disappointment in the lack of language related to the Waters of the U.S. rule.

"We had hoped Congress would include language that would have authorized the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the secretary of the Army to withdraw the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. This would have granted express statutory authority to the agencies to withdraw a rule that courts have already found to be likely illegal and would allow the agencies to move forward on their efforts to develop a new WOTUS rule that comports with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
Discussions Continue Between Sheep & Goat Owners and Wildlife Groups

Discussions around wild and domestic sheep and goats and respiratory pathogens have been ongoing since the March 2016 Board of Game meeting. The working group that was established tried to find common ground on recommendations to minimize risk of contact and transferring mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (Movi) between species. Due to the lack of Alaska specific information a testing program began July 2017 in order to determine the prevalence of Movi in domestics and wildlife. The Office of the State Veterinarian and Department of Fish and Game have been working in collaboration with the USDA Animal Disease Research Unit and the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on the current Movi testing program.
Results on domestic sheep and goats have been maintaining at roughly a 4% positive rate. Results from Dall sheep and mountain goat tests have recently been released with some Dall sheep and mountain goats testing positive for Movi. These positive animals spread from the Kenai Peninsula to the Brooks Range. To date, all animals tested have appeared healthy and there has been no evidence of Movi related sickness or death.
According to information from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, preliminary analysis has identified three strains of Movi in the Dall sheep. Testing is continuing to determine the virulence of the strains found and also if the strains in the wild populations match that found in Alaska's domestic animals or in lower 48 animals.        
Following the November 2017 Board of Game meeting, Department of Fish and Game offered to cover costs to bring in a facilitator with the hopes of keeping discussions moving forward on the domestic /wild sheep and goat discussion. The plan is to have the facilitated working group meet in May and June and come out of it with agreed on recommendations to maintain healthy herds with minimal impact on domestic sheep and goat owners.
Information about Movi and the current study can be found on the Office of the State Veterinarian and Department of Fish and Game websites.


April 14 3:30-6:30pm: Happy Hour in the Greenhouse - fundraising event for Alaska Farmland Trust. More at
April 20: Deadline for Bruce Willard Scholarship Applications
May 1: Alaska Agriculture Day
May 15: Deadline for Agriculture Education Mini-Grant applications
Attention Alaska Producers and Agriculture Organizations!

Do you have an agriculture related event or ag-related news? 

Send your events and news items to the Alaska Farm Bureau for possible inclusion in our newsletter and our our website.  

Email the info

Alaska Farm Bureau Member Benefits
View All Benefits Here

Cat introduces its new, 2-year standard warranty on Cat Skid Steer Loaders, Compact Track Loaders, Multi Terrain Loaders and Mini Excavators that gives your operation flexibility and reliability for the long term. Combined with your up- to-$2,500 Alaska Farm Bureau discount on new Cat machines, that's a hard deal to pass up!

Spring has sprung, so it's time to take your to-do list to done! Use your Alaska Farm Bureau membership to receive access to the John Deere Gree
nFleetâ„¢ Loyalty Rewards program and apply Platinum 2 discounts to your next purchase.

Join the Alaska Farm Bureau for only $40 per year and your dollars will go to support our mission of improving the economic well-being and expansion of agriculture and to enrich the quality of life for all Alaskans.
Classified Ads 

Looking for Equipment:
Looking for plow, tiller, disk, seeder for a 50-60 hp tractor. Also looking for potato harvesting equipment. Contact Megan  here.

1-30'x144' Greenhouse includes 2 Hastings furnaces with chrome stainless heat exchanger, exhaust fans, circulating fans, roll up walls and netifim drip system.

Will be dismantled and palletized by mid May, can view standing now $5000.00

Call or email  Larry Harris @  907-414-1689 or

Bison & Elk Harvest Hunts plus Farm Gate Sales :
First come, first serve basis at Alaska Interior Game Ranch.  Refundable deposit required, cabin included in harvest/hunt. No hunting license required.
We also offer farm gate sales which mean we can sell an animal on the hoof to you.

One animal = one individual. We harvest the animal for you, you pay per pound for whole animal quartered. Farm gate sales serves our customers in Alaska very well.  We are lifelong Alaskans and understand your desire for quality red meat.

These animals are grass fed.  Bison and elk meat are considered gourmet meats. Special care is given to animals, no antibiotics, no hormones are added and no steroids. Animals are checked on weekly.  We take special pride in what we raise.

Visit us at or call Scott at 907-895-5715
Pig Farrowers Wanted : 
Help grow the Alaska grown livestock industry! Looking for someone to farrow pigs on a commercial scale. If you're interested in this, contact Greg Giannulis at 907-696-1888.

80 Acre Farm:  
Farm for sale in Two Rivers, Alaska. $480,000-$520,000 depending on financing- owner financing available. 30 acres brome hay, 2 acres peonies,2 acres vegetables, 3 high tunnels, small barn, unfinished shop, 30 year old unfinished log house, well, septic, electricity. Contact Joni at 907-488-9202.
Green Bison Hides: 
Scraped, salted, dried and folded green bison hides for sale. Ready for tanning. $150.00 each. Contact Scott Hollembaek @ 907-895-4715.

Straw Bales Wanted
Truck load of square straw bales wanted. Please give a quote including delivery. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Discounts and donations are 100% tax deductible. Contact Mike Miller at 907-301-7942.

All Natural Beef
Locally grown, all natural, grass fed, Delta Barley finished, Black Angus beef for sale. $3.85/lb. dressed. Available in whole or halves from Mugrage Hay & Cattle. Call 907-895-2072 or 308-362-9060.
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
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.  Visit Website
Alaska Farm Bureau
37075 Nicholas View Lane 
Soldotna, AK 99669

Call  907-252-5064 or send an  e-mail to:

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