News from Alaska Farm Bureau
May 2017
Alaska Farm Bureau News

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend! The Alaska Farm Bureau would like to thank all our veterans for their service!
Be sure and read through this newsletter - there are some grant opportunities, information on President Trump's proposed USDA budget, and more!
There is still time to submit an application for the American Farm Bureau's Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge! The Challenge is a national competition focused on entrepreneurs with food and agriculture businesses. Businesses across agriculture are eligible, including farms, ranches, agritourism, CSAs, food hubs, aquaponics, farm-to-table businesses, local food production and craft breweries. Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information go to

In collaboration with the Division of Agriculture, we will be launching a series of Listening Sessions to hear from Alaska producers. Our first session will be hosted in the Division of Agriculture office in Palmer at 12:00pm on Wednesday, June 7th.  This first session we will also be working with the State Vet's office and wanting to hear your ideas for livestock. If you're unable to attend in person, there will be an option to call in (1-800-315-6338 access code 7613870#).

   Topics to be discussed:
  • livestock skills needs,
  • update from the sheep and goat working group
  • discussion about developing a Livestock Certification/Quality Assurance program.
 ***Respond to this email with any topics you are interested in or venues that would be interested in hosting an in-person discussion.***

Happy Trails.......

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 -

Ag Matters Radio

Have you listened to Ag Matters radio yet?  Since November 30, 2016 every Wednesday morning at 7:30, Amy Pettit of Alaska Farmland Trust (AFT) has a half hour discussion about a positive Alaskan agriculture story with a community member.  Over the course of the 25 shows, MANY Farm Bureau members have been featured, from Eagle Song Peonies to Frozen Oak Farms, Alaska Berries to the Mat-Su Farm Co-Op.  All of the shows are archived as podcasts; you can listen at your leisure by clicking through the links on the AFT 
website.  Want to be featured on an upcoming edition of Ag Matters?  Shoot Amy an email at 
Upcoming shows:
  • 5/31 Broilers & the Food Hub with Richelle Plummer
  • 6/7  Drink Beer, Save Farms with Rodeo Alaska & the Ken Peltier Band
  • 6/14 Mt. McKinley Meat & Sausage LLC
  • 6/21  Division of Agriculture update with Director Keyes
The show is recorded live, Wednesday mornings, in the studio of Radio Free Palmer, 89.7 FM.  If you are not within the broadcast area of Radio Free Palmer, you can stream the show through their website at


Release No. 0045.17
Jacqueline Susmann (202) 205-8219

USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Support the Development of Rural Community Facilities

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2017 - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA is seeking applications for technical assistance and training grants in the Community Facilities program.

"Too often, rural community organizations lack the technical expertise they need to access federal dollars," Perdue said. "These technical assistance and training grants will help rural organizations overcome hurdles that prevent them from fully utilizing the Community Facilities Program. Increased access to federal funding will help build essential community facilities, and will allow rural areas to thrive."

The grants are being provided through the   Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant Program. Congress authorized this new program in the 2014 Farm Bill to help rural communities develop their applications for Community Facilities loans and grants.

Communities can use the grants to hire specialized personnel, pay for feasibility studies, retain consultants to prepare financial assistance applications and identify and plan for long-term community facility's needs.

Providing technical assistance will help more rural communities qualify for loans and grants. Many often lack access to specialized personnel who complete financial and environmental analyses, for example. These analyses often must be included in applications for USDA loans and grants.
Public bodies, non-profit organizations and Federally-recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for this funding. The maximum grant is $150,000.

Interested applicants may find more information about this program on page 23525 of the May 23, 2017, Federal Register.

Community Facilities programs help underserved rural communities develop essential community services, which in turn helps attract investments, create and retain jobs and businesses, and retain residents.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit


Federal Register Notices:
Notice of Funds Availability: Inviting Applications for the Emerging Markets Program : Purpose. The EMP assists U.S. entities in developing, maintaining, or expanding exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products by funding activities that enhance emerging markets' food and rural business systems, including reducing trade barriers. The EMP is intended primarily to support export market development efforts of the private sector, but EMP resources may also be used to assist public organizations.
Notice of Funds Availability: Inviting Applications for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program : Purpose: The TASC program is designed to assist U.S. organizations by providing funding for projects that address sanitary, phytosanitary, or technical barriers that prohibit or threaten the export of U.S. specialty crops. U.S. specialty crops, for the purpose of the TASC program, are defined to include all cultivated plants, or the products thereof, produced in the United States except wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, rice, peanuts, sugar, and tobacco.
Agency Information Collection: Proposed Collection; Comments Request Study of Third Party Processor Services, Fees, and Business Practices: Abstract: This study seeks to understand the business practices of TPPs and ISOs that provide EBT processing services and equipment to SNAP retailers to (1) assess retailers' satisfaction with EBT products and services needed to participate in the SNAP program; and (2) develop a set of best practices to inform FNS's guidance for retailers on what to consider when selecting, contracting with, and working with EBT vendors (TPPs and ISOs). The study results will also provide FNS with the information needed to inform future FNS policies regarding requirements for vendors providing EBT equipment and services to authorized retailers and TPP services-related guidance for retailers. The study relies on two data sources: (1) A survey of SNAP retailers regarding their business relations with EBT vendors as well as satisfaction with the equipment and services acquired, and (2) interviews with TPPs and ISOs about their business practices with SNAP retailers, products and services, including costs and recommendations for retailers seeking to acquire EBT products and services.

Mace Thornton
Will Rodger
(202) 406-3641
(202) 406-3642
Proposed Ag Budget Fails Farmers, Ranchers, Farm Bureau President Says

, May 23, 2017 - The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
"The American Farm Bureau Federation and its members are concerned about the federal budget deficit. However, we also know that agriculture has done its fair share to help reduce the deficit. Going back to the early 1980s, agriculture often has been targeted to generate budget savings, from the reconciliation bills in the late 1980s and 1990s to farm bill reforms as recently as 2014. At the time of passage, the 2014 farm bill was estimated to contribute $23 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years. The farm bill was the only reauthorization bill that voluntarily offered savings during the 113 th Congress . It is difficult to think of another sector of the economy that has contributed so much, so consistently, over the last several decades.
"The administration's budget proposal fails to recognize agriculture's current financial challenges or its historical contribution to deficit reduction. It would gut federal crop insurance, one of the nation's most important farm safety-net programs. It would drastically reshape important voluntary conservation programs and negatively impact consumer confidence in critical meat and poultry inspection. This proposal would hamper the viability of plant and animal security programs at our borders and undermine the nation's grain quality and market information systems. It would stunt rural America's economic growth by eliminating important utility programs and other rural development programs.
"Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America.
"Farm income is down substantially since Congress passed the last farm bill. USDA cuts of this magnitude in the current economic cycle would be unwarranted and unwise. AFBF will work with the House and Senate Agriculture, Appropriations and Budget committees to protect programs that are critical in managing risks inherent to production agriculture, and maintain programs that are vital to rural communities."
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You can find the fiscal year 18 USDA budget summary here .
American Farm Bureau prepared a breakdown of some of the key points in the proposed budget. This is just the first step in the process. AFBF will work closely with the House and Senate Agriculture, Budget and Appropriations Committees through the process.
The president's budget eliminates $228 billion over 10 years from the farm bill, which includes a total of $38 billion from farm bill programs and $190 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Caps the crop insurance premium subsidy at $40,000 (eliminates $16.2 billion in funding over 10 years)
  • Limits eligibility for agricultural commodity payments to $500,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) (eliminates $653 million in funding over 10 years)
  • Limits crop insurance eligibility to $500,000 AGI (eliminates $420 million in funding over 10 years)
  • Eliminates Harvest Price Option for Crop Insurance (eliminates $11.9 billion in funding over 10 years)
  • Cuts conservation programs by $5.7 billion over 10 years
  • Eliminates "small" programs by $3 billion over 10 years
Foreign Agricultural Service: The budget eliminates several USDA programs that focus on expanding market access for U.S. agriculture.
  • Market Access Program
  • Foreign Market Development
  • Food for Peace Program
  • McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program
Conservation Programs:
  • Provides additional funding of $250 million for FY18 for EQIP.
  • Provides additional funding of $450 million for FY18 for Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
  • Eliminates enrollment of new acres in the Conservation Stewardship Program, which cuts the program by $7.9 billion over 10 years.
  • Eliminates enrollment of Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which cuts the program by $755 million over 10 years.
Farm Agricultural Service:
  • Eliminates the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
  • Proposal to target enrollment of additional acres in the Conservation Reserve Program by using continuous and grassland signups. No acres will be enrolled under general signup through 2020. Eliminates all newly enrolled acreage for all Signing Incentive Payments and Practice Incentive Program. These actions would cut $1.9 billion over 10 years.
Rural Development:
  • Eliminates the Rural Energy for America loan and grant program.
  • Eliminates the Rural Economic Development Program.
  • Eliminates the Water and Wastewater Direct Loan and Grant Program.
  • Eliminates the Business-Cooperative Service.
  • Provides $27 million for broadband loan programs
  • Creates a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants, which is funded at $162 million and includes the following programs:  Distance Learning and Telemedicine; Broadband Grants; Community Facilities; and housing repair. The budget sets aside $80 million to assist in the Appalachian region.
Agriculture Research:
  • Funds the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative at $350 million.
  • Provides $1.3 billion to National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
  • Provides the National Agricultural Statistics Service with $186 million, including an increase of $22 million to conduct the 2017 Census for Agriculture.
  • Funds the Economic Research Service at $77 million.
Marketing and Regulatory Programs:
  • Eliminates the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
  • Eliminates the Farmers' Market and Local Food Promotion Program.
  • Provides $1 million for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard and states the requirements will be developed through rulemaking.
Catfish Inspection: Returns all inspections back to FDA.
Nutrition Programs:
  • Eliminates the connection between the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program and the Heating and Cooling Standard Utility Allowance, and standardize the Standard Utility Allowance methodology for all states. This would be a total cut of $20.5 billion over 10 years.
  • Limits waivers for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents to counties with annual unemployment exceeding 10 percent, and restrict Categorical Eligibility to households receiving cash assistance from Temporary Aid for Needy Families.
  • Require a phased-in State match of 25 percent of SNAP benefits.
  • Eliminates the minimum benefit of SNAP and cap SNAP benefits at the maximum allotment for a six-person household.
  • The budget proposes 5.5 percent reduction in USDA staffing.
Proposed User Fees:
  • The budget proposes legislation to charge a user fee for inspection of meat, poultry, and eggs to enforcement of animal welfare requirements.
  • Establishes a user fee for grain standardization and a Packers and Stockyards license fee to cover program costs.
  • Fees will help offset the cost of biotechnology and veterinary biologic regulation.
  • Proposes to retain $4.5 million in user fees annually, to manage communications facilities on Forest Service land.
AFBF response :
AFBF opposes the administration's request for new user fees for inspection activities. Food safety is for the public good, and as such, it is a justified use of public funds.




Every Wednesday @ 7:30am: Ag Matters on Radio Free Palmer, 89.7 FM
July 22-23: Fiber Festival being held in the big barn at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. There will be judging on sheep, goats, rabbits and raw fleeces! If you're interested in participating or being a vendor email 
August 4-13: Tanana Valley Fair
August 18-20 : Kenai Peninsula Fair
August 24-September 4 : Alaska State Fair
Member Benefits
view all benefits here

Veteran Farmer Programs: A Win-Win for Agriculture and Our Heroes
This Memorial Day, learn how farming is helping veterans find new purpose in their lives after leaving the military. With increasing numbers of men and women needed to continue feeding the world's growing population, agriculture is as important than ever. Find out how you may be able to benefit from government programs for farmers who are veterans, and remember that as an Alaska Farm Bureau Member, you can use your member benefit to save up to $2,500 on Caterpillar machines! Go to to view the full list of eligible machines and models.
Read the full article here.
*** GM discount ending -
the GM Farm Bureau discount will expire on May 31, 2017.
As your busy with summer projects, remember that Alaska Farm Bureau members save 10% when shopping at NAPA!

When you do business with COUNTRY Financial, you get more than an insurance policy or investment service. You'll get personal attention and expertise from your COUNTRY Financial representative - a person you know and trust whom a team of professionals backs. Your COUNTRY representative will review all your financial needs and provide a tangible plan for your future financial security, no matter where you're starting. Contact your local COUNTRY Financial representative today to get started.
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

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

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 its 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.
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
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

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

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