Alaska Farm Bureau News                                                        March 2020

A Note from Your Executive Director

Greetings........

I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe! This is an unsettling time with concerns over health, concerns about the economy and things changing rapidly. Included in this newsletter you'll find information and links to resources about Covid 19, impacts on agriculture, supporting local businesses, etc.
 
To continue some business as usual, it is application time for the Bruce Willard Scholarship. Information and a link to the application can be found below. Deadline to submit applications is April 24, 2020.
 
The Alaska State Legislature is still in session, focusing on getting budgets passed and all the issues arising from Covid 19. The operating budget ( HB 205 ) has passed the House and is before the Senate; included in it is funding for dairy inspection and the Division of Agriculture. 

This is an important time to have the services in place to continue realizing the growth in agriculture we've been seeing. As we see shelves at the grocery store become empty, there is great comfort in seeing the Alaska Grown label on products and know we do have food here - we do need more of the food we eat produced here for times just like we are facing now.
 
There are some other bills moving through the legislature; Senate Resources held their first hearing of HB 16  SHARED ANIMAL AND RAW MILK/PRODUCTS. This bill will expand the herd share program to include value-added products as an option to herd share owners. This is a great example of policy changes that will encourage growth in agriculture. Take a few minutes and send an email to the Senate Resource Committee supporting passage of House Bill 16 - Senate.Resource@akleg.gov.
 
Sample email:

Senate Resource Committee:

House Bill 16 will allow for expansion in the herd share program by allowing herd owners access to value-added products like cheese, butter and yogurt. By increasing what products share owners can access, farmers offering a herd share could increase their share owners and have products available during times their animals are not producing milk. This is a great step toward growing Alaska agriculture, improving food security and our local economies.

Please support passing HB 16.

Thank you,


All the best,
Amy


Amy Seitz
Executive Director

Alaska Farm Bureau

37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669 


BRUCE WILLARD SCHOLARSHIP


Alaska Farm Bureau will award up to 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 24, 2020 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.

American Farm Bureau Federation:
Impact of Covid 19 on Agriculture

A Message from AFBF President Zippy Duvall

Things are far from business as usual in cities and towns across America this week.   Millions of us are being called to serve our neighbors by staying home. There is a lot beyond our control and still unknown as we face this crisis, but we can focus on and be faithful with the tasks at hand. For farmers and ranchers our calling hasn't changed, though its importance hits closer to home in times like these: we are committed to rising every day to grow and harvest the food we all depend on. We can't do that work alone, however. In the days, weeks and months ahead, agriculture will continue to depend on access to a skilled workforce to help with the work of planting, cultivating and harvesting our crops. 

Empty shelves can be frightening, but empty fields and barns would be devastating. 

We have been blessed with plenty when it comes to America's food supply. Empty shelves can be frightening, but empty fields and barns would be devastating. Times like these should remind us all of the importance of ensuring our nation's food security. While many retailers are scaling back and temporarily closing for public health, agriculture remains on call 24/7. As Americans everywhere rush to their local grocery stores, I am reminded of and grateful for the tireless hours farmers and ranchers put in all year long to supply healthy, affordable food to be processed and packaged so stores can restock grocery shelves, produce bins, and meat and dairy cases.
  
Like you, I am praying for a quick end to this pandemic. I also have faith that great stories of service, of neighbors helping neighbors and communities working together (even from a distance) to protect one another will shine brightly across this country.
 

COVID-19: Situation overview

DHSS is closely monitoring the rapidly-emerging outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019. Cases have been identified in a growing number of locations, including the United States. We are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal, Tribal, state and local partners to respond to this evolving public health threat.

Small Business Coalition Calls for Drastic Action

As the U.S. confronts the coronavirus pandemic with unprecedented school, office and business closings, federal officials must take equally drastic action to help small businesses survive the crisis, 97 organizations representing all types of businesses and economic sectors said in a letter to administration and congressional leaders.

"To minimize the number of businesses closed and workers unemployed, the response from Washington needs to be coordinated, massive, and focused on ensuring that all businesses have the resources necessary to ride out the pandemic," the groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, wrote to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The groups asked the leaders to take specific steps to help small businesses reduce their costs and increase their cash flow as much as possible in the coming weeks. Among those steps is immediately providing readily accessible, unsecured credit to businesses of all sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent and other costs during this crisis.

On the tax front, the groups called for the suspension of the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic - including taxes owed for 2019, estimated payments for 2020 and all payroll tax obligations.

In addition, the groups detailed how the administration and Congress should amend the law to ensure businesses are not penalized by the tax code if they lose money or increase their debt levels in 2020.

Via: FB.org

Support 907 | A Roundup of Alaska Businesses Adapting to the Pandemic


We face unprecedented times, and navigating it will require a group effort. Here's an ongoing list of local businesses adapting during this pandemic. Many cannot afford to lose their income; meanwhile, Alaskans will still need products or services, even if the normal means of accessing those get interrupted. Gift card purchases, delivery or pick up, mail ordering... these methods and more enable us to continue to support our local neighbors in Alaska and their businesses.

We're working to keep this list updated for our readers, followers, and community during this time. If you can commit to supporting some of these businesses or even purchasing gift cards now for future use, it can make the difference between someone staying open or someone closing permanently. Our heartfelt solidarity goes out, too, to the many workers in the service industry, and proximal industries, who will be out of work.

It's free to join the list. To add your business, or update your listing, 
please complete this form so we can continue to update this list , or share this with others who you'd like to see listed in this roundup. We're adding and updating as fast as we can, thanks for all of the submissions!



Other useful links to find information and follow Covid 19:

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