Last month representatives from the Alaska Farm Bureau and FFA made a trip to Juneau where they advocated for agriculture during visits with Legislators and at the Governor's Alaska Grown reception.
Governor Bill Walker hosted another successful reception highlighting Alaska grown and made products; great attendance and wonderfully prepared local food! The Alaska Farm Bureau greatly appreciates the Governor opening his house to so many to highlight what our Alaska farmers are producing!
Legislators were very welcoming and we had a positive overall response to the priorities we presented:
University funding for agriculture programs:
- University of Alaska was founded in 1917 as the Alaska Agriculture College and School of Mines
- Agriculture programs at the university have gotten cut to the point where many programs are no longer available, and the ones remaining, if cut much more, will be ineffective
- The legislature isn't in charge of deciding which programs are funded at the University, but legislators showing support for agriculture programs would be helpful
Moving Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools to Division of Agriculture
- This program was funded through the Capital Budget for 3 years starting in 2013
- It is not in statute or regulation, but is a program within the Department of Commerce Community & Economic Development that assists schools in purchasing local products when there is funding available.
- This program already works closely with the Farm to School and Alaska Grown programs in the Division of Agriculture and would be more appropriate to have it within the Division.
- If it's moved to Division of Ag, grants and other opportunities can be pursued that could get this program sustainable instead of relying on funding through the Capitol Budget each year.
Moving the Sate Veterinarian's office and duties to Division of Agriculture:
- Alaska Farm Bureau members at the annual meeting in November voted to write a letter to Governor Walker requesting him to support this. Since there would need to be statutory changes, it was appropriate to also request support from Legislators.
- State Veterinarians office use to be housed in the Division of Agriculture, other state's appropriately have the state veterinarian in their Department of Agriculture
- The State Veterinarian in Alaska is within the Department of Environmental Conservation whose focus is conserving, improving and protecting Alaska's natural resources and environment.
- DEC works on air quality, water quality, spill prevention and response and environment health; the State Veterinarian manages livestock and poultry - much more in line with the Division of Agriculture than Department of Environmental Conservation.
Support for Agriculture Education:
- Supporting and encouraging youth to be involved in agriculture is a priority of the Alaska Farm Bureau
- Following up on conversations with Legislators during the 2016 Legislative Session, farm bureau members and FFA officers spoke on how legislators could help support getting more ag education in schools
- We are requesting the Commissioner of Education to add to the list of approved teaching positions: "Agriculture/Natural Resource Education".
- We are also requesting to get the national ag education curriculum accepted by the Department of Education
There was one priority voted on at the annual meeting that we'd like to get more comments from membership so we can have a clearer request for legislators: reducing transportation costs.
Please send in comments to
on transportation issues you've seen and any thoughts you have of any legislative actions that could help improve transportation issues.
Legislators were very welcoming, and a special thank you to Representative Tilton for inviting Alaska Farm Bureau members and the FFA Officers to a breakfast!
We look forward to continuing discussions with legislators and the Governor, and are excited to hear many are already talking about next year's reception!
With the recognition Alaska agriculture is receiving, it's important for all of us to work together and support each other to continue to expand agriculture.
Thank you to all those who provided items for the reception and gift bags:
|Mid State Meats
||Chena Hot Springs
|Rempel Family Farm
||Mike's Quality Meats
||Bear Creek Winery
||Funny Farm Feed Folks
||Bells Flats Poultry
||Alaska Perfect Peony
|Butcher Block 9
||Kenai Premier BBQ
||Juice, Jelly & Jam
||Far Above Rubies
|Alaska Flour Company
||Alaska Wild Harvest
Amy Seitz, Executive Director
37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669
BAN NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND
** Proposed changes to this bill would require any seeds, foliage or soil that neonicotinoids are applied to remain within a greenhouse for their entire lifespan. It also specifies that this does not apply to a person licensed to apply pesticides.
In the House Resources Committee.
LABEL GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD REPRESENTATIVE TARR
In House Resources Committee, then House Finance Committee
PROCURE AK FISH, AG PROD; RAW MILK SALES REPRESENTATIVE TARR
** Changes made to this bill that removes the section on raw milk sales. Representative Tarr plans on introducing another bill to address sales of raw milk.
Another change to this bill would give receipt authority to the Division of Agriculture. This would allow the division to collect fees for the Alaska Grown marketing materials (twist ties, stickers, etc.).
Moved out of House Resources Committee, now in House Finance Committee.
TRANSFER DUTIES FROM DCCED REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT
In House State Affairs Committee
RELOCATION ASSISTANCE FOR FED. PROJ/PROG HOUSE TRANSPORTATION
** This would allow an increase of the maximum relocation benefits available to a person or a business displaced by federally assisted projects and programs.
Moved from House Transportation, now in House Finance
INDUSTRIAL HEMP PRODUCTION SENATOR HUGHES
**Several changes have been made to this bill from its original version. It establishes the Division of Agriculture as the regulatory authority for industrial hemp. It also lays out guidelines for registration and the pilot program. Documents on SB 6, and more in-depth explanation of changes can be found
was introduced by Representative Drummond in the House - a companion bill to SB 6.
SB 6 has moved out of Senate Resources and Judiciary Committees, now in Senate Finance
HB 172 has moved out of House Resources, now in House Judiciary.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
There are still some surveys running that we're hoping to get more responses on. Please take the time to fill out the surveys.
Product Preference Program
In 2015 Representative Tarr requested an audit to be done on Alaska's Agriculture Product Preference Program.
The Division of Agriculture and Alaska Farm Bureau are partnering to give input from agricultural stakeholders regarding next steps.
One of the options being discussed is separating out items that Alaskan farmers can produce in large enough quantities. This survey is to gather information on what products we have, what quantity and what time of year they are available.
With this information the state can work towards ways to incorporate more local products in their purchases.
You can find the survey at the link below.
Farm Use Land Property Tax Exemption
The Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation has started looking at the Farm Land Tax Exemption law to see if it could be more beneficial to the ag industry.
Currently, to be eligible for this property tax exemption, a person needs to make 10% of their yearly gross income. There is also the rule that if farm land receiving this exemption is sold for non-farming purposes, the owner is responsible to pay the amount that was exempt, plus interest, on the preceding seven years.
The Alaska Farm Bureau is assisting the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp to find out how our farmers & ranchers think this should change.
Please take the time to fill out the short survey
Produce Safety Program
The Division of Agriculture would like to hear any questions or concerns you might have about developing a Produce Safety Program in Alaska.
***ATTENTION SHEEP & GOAT OWNERS***
BOARD OF GAME PROP 90 -
Remove Sheep & Goat from Clean List
A proposal was submitted to the Board of Game for their March 2016 Statewide meeting; proposal 90. This proposal would have removed domestic sheep & goats from the "clean list", along with putting tight and expensive requirements on sheep & goat owners within 15 air miles of Dall sheep habitat.
At the March 2016 Statewide Board of Game meeting in Fairbanks, the board decided to postpone this proposal, urging both sides to try and come to an agreement, then bring it back up during the March 2018 meeting.
This Board of Game meeting has been moved up to November 2017.
There have been working group meetings off and on this past year with representatives of producers, agencies involved and WSF. One option that could dispel this issue is based off of a study recently conducted by the North American Pack Goat Association (NAPGA). Across western states use of packgoats is being prohibited in bighorn sheep habitat due to the same reason that brought up proposal 90 here in Alaska; potential of domestic sheep/goats carrying M. ovipneumoniae (Movi).
Alaska is already a low risk state for contact between domestic and wild sheep & goats; there are low numbers of domestic sheep and goats, we're a "fence in" state, and we don't currently have any grazing leases in dall sheep habitat. If a study is conducted in Alaska, and it shows low numbers of positive tests (as is expected), not only could it do away with prop 90, but also give the option of doing away with restricting access to public lands.
What would this study look like? Protocol for the study would be similar to the NAPgA study: information on that can be found
. There would be some adjustments to match Alaska's needs, such as testing sheep as well as goats. There are still some questions that need answers to: how many animals in each area of the state would need to be tested. Dr. Gerlach is working with biometricians and others on setting the protocol for this study.
- This would be a voluntary program - as with any study, the more animals tested, the more conclusive results would be.
- It would be confidential - if test samples are taken through the University or a producer's vet, everything except the final numbers will be confidential.
- Testing will not be paid for by the producer.
As more information becomes available, it will be distributed. Also, please send any questions, comments or suggestions to,
National Organic Standards Board Meeting
he U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted meeting materials and an updated agenda for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring meeting, to be held in Denver, CO, April 19-21, 2017. Documents are posted on the
Spring 2017 NOSB meeting webpage
AMS has announced in the Federal Register an extension of the deadline to comment on the proposed organic products checkoff program to April 19th. Information on the extension and where to submit comments can be found
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE
AGRICULTURE EDUCATION MINI-GRANT
The Alaska Farm Bureau is accepting applications for the Agriculture Education Mini-Grant. This program is in its third 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, 2017.
Application deadline is May 15, 2017 and can be submitted by mail to 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email
BRUCE WILLARD SCHOLARSHIP
Alaska Farm Bureau will award up to two (2) $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 20, 2017, can be submitted by mail to Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc. 37075 Nicholas View Lane, Soldotna, AK 99669 or email
view all benefits
Spring is right around the corner... are you ready for a productive season? With more than 1.5 million products in Grainger's online and print catalogs, it's fast and easy to find the tools and other items you need for the farm and ranch. Use your
Alaska Farm Bureau discount to
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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.
Hay For Sale:
Brome Hay in 500# round bales available near Delta Junction. Have nutrient contents available on request. Call 907-378-6334 to arrange a time for loading onto your trailer. Housing is also available if traveling long distance. Call the above number for housing. Any questions and price, call 907-518-4244 or 907-723-1132.
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
Goats Supply, Excellent Breeds Available:
We have excellent breeds of many goat species, we have breeding pairs available. We currently have goats which are in milk, kids are ready to breed. Our goats have excellent milk and show lines. Various species we have: Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, Pygmy, Alpine, Pygora, Kinder, Angora, LaMancha, Toggenburg, Boer, Kiko, Brush goats, Tennessee Fainting Goat. Contact Jackson at 802-729-0326
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
Goats for Sale:
We are proud breeders of excellent quality, standard size breeds; Alpine, Lamancha, Nubian, Oberhasle, Saanen, Sable, Toggenburg, Boer and the Nigerian Dwarf goats. These are healthy goats with good feet and are easy to handle. They respect goat netting fences and do not jump. Each animal has it's own file with full treatment record. Ongoing support can be provided for people who are new to goats. These are very good quality goats. Call or PM Jerry @ (503) 506-7826
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
. 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.
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.
Contact Lisa McDonald: 907-398-3994
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
for more information. Telephone: 907-235-6667.
Alaska Farm Bureau
37075 Nicholas View Lane
Soldotna, AK 99669