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February 2015


I hope everyone is having a great start to 2015.  Did you know that 2015 is the international year of soil?  Great time to focus on building healthier soils!


I'm sure some of you are busy planning and preparing for spring.  While you're planning remember that May 5th is Alaska Ag Day, plan something special to celebrate agriculture!  If you do something for Alaska Ag Day, please take pictures and send them in.


For those who were unable to attend the Farm to School Conference last month, Johanna Herron and the Division of Agriculture did a great job!  The conference was full of informative speakers, creative ideas to get agriculture in schools, and lots of networking.  If you weren't able to be there, you can check out the conference materials here


As your chapters are planning speakers for your monthly meetings, remember the Division of Ag.  You have access to many possible speakers and topics: Farm to School, Plant Materials Center, Alaska Grown, upcoming grants, and much more.  Give them a call and invite them to your meetings!


I would like to remind everyone of the Paid Delegate program we have.  Any Farm Bureau member who signs up five new members in a year will be reimbursed for lodging and travel to the annual meeting in November.  Just make sure they mention your name when they sign up. 


Amy Seitz, Executive Director

Alaska Farm Bureau

37075 Nicholas View Lane

Soldotna, AK 99669 


[email protected] 



PS. Remember, we have started a new membership year.  If you have not renewed already you can do so on our website, www.alaskafb.org, by sending in a membership form, or calling me at 907-252-5064.  Renew now to take advantage of the member benefits and to support Alaska agriculture! 



Life is Short - Eat Good Food - 


The Best Is Always Alaska Grown 







Rita Jo Shoultz, owner of Alaska Perfect Peony and President of the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of the Farm Bureau was presented with an award from the Alaska Peony Growers' Association.  Rita Jo received the Achievement Cup "In Recognition of Your Outstanding Contribution to the Alaska Peony Cut Flower Industry". 



"What a surprise and what an honor. I was totally blown away when my name was called for the award"  says Rita Jo.


The 2015 Winter Conference for the Alaska Peony Growers Association was held in Fairbanks the end of January with about 180 attendees. 


"That also is pretty overwhelming for me to look out over the room and remember when Dr. Pat Holloway and I first talked nine years ago about maybe growing peony in Alaska for the cut flower industry. Little did either one of us know that our farm would be the beginning of a 'movement'. What a ride."





The Trail Blazers 4-H Club just returned from attending the National Western Round-Up in Denver, Colorado.  


We would like to thank the Alaska Farm Bureau and our local Kenai Peninsula chapter for all of their support, as it was a life-changing youth rally as well as an amazing adventure.  Here's a quick summary of some of our trip activities written by the kids. - Katie Matthews, Trail Blazers Club Leader



Top row, left to right, Katie Matthews, Mya Riley, DeeAnn White, Jazzy Fankhauser, Mikayla Clark. Bottom row, left to right, Tori Ellison, Melissa Clark, Kat Nelson, Wyatt Hamblen


This year my club - the Trail Blazers - participated in the National Western Round-Up in Denver, Colorado. We qualified to compete in the National Horse Bowl competition, which was a blast! One huge factor that influenced how much fun we had at Round-Up was how many other people from other states were there. Over eight hundred teens participated! It was a great experience having the future leaders of our generation meeting in one place. Everyone was extremely friendly and we will have friends from around the continent we will keep for a lifetime! As Horse Bowlers, we won our first match but lost our second match by two points and our third match by one point so were eliminated in round three of the tournament. Along with competing in the Horse Bowl, we participated in the leadership workshops, attended dances, awards ceremonies, meals and social activities. We Trail Blazers had a great time meeting our fellows in the Revolution of Responsibility and have memories we will cherish forever! By Melissa Clark

My favorite part of our trip was the Professional Bull Riders event. The PBR was held in the Denver Coliseum. It was very interesting to watch a modern rodeo in Denver. What I noticed at that particular rodeo was the bulls were way too tuff for the bull riders and only a hand-full of them rode for eight seconds. But other than that is was a very fun rodeo and a great trip that I hope to attend again someday. I am so thankful for this trip and will work hard to repay my 4-H leaders one day. By Wyatt Hamblen

When my 4-H club - the Trail Blazers - and I traveled down to Denver, Colorado, for The National Western Round-Up, I knew we were going to be doing workshops of some sort, but I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. As a team, we did two different workshops; Your Personal Brand, and Personality. Both were very informational and fun. However, out of the two, I feel like the Personality seminar hit home harder and I learned more. 

We took an individual test to find out our personality types; 'Fire', 'Earth', 'Lightening', or 'Sun'. 

'Fire' basically describes a person who has little patience and likes to get straight to the point. They tend to be a bit more volatile and aggressive, but make very efficient leaders. 


Almost opposite to a 'Fire', an 'Earth' is a person who is usually a bit more passive and conservative. They don't often speak up in groups and thrive in smaller numbers of people. 

Those who got 'Lightening' as their main Personality type are most likely more analytical and thoughtful than the other personalities. These are the inventors and scholars and will probably rule the technological world of the future. 

Then there are 'Suns'. These are your happy-go-lucky, cheerful people that love to be with one another, but irritate the heck out of almost everyone else, especially an impatient 'Fire'. They often talk too much and have a short attention span. I am most certainly a 'Sun'!

After going to that seminar and learning about all the different personality types, what they like, what they don't like, and how to work with them better, I feel like I am better able to communicate with my own family and friends. I will be able to use the skills I learned in that workshop to better understand and communicate with people I meet for the rest of my life. 

While I had a blast participating all the other activities the National Western Round-Up had to offer, I'm so glad I was able to take part in this particular workshop and learn so much about the diverse and unique personality traits that everyone possesses. By Jazzy Fankhauser

During the wonderful trip in Denver, Colorado the Trail Blazers were able to visit Bel Rea Institute, a college veterinary technician training school. It was another early morning for the team. We were all eager as we headed out to catch the taxicabs. The drivers were kind and were okay with many of us never having ridden in a cab before. 


After about half an hour of driving, the Trail Blazers entered the parking lot of the vet school. It was smaller than we expected, but after the teacher took us through the first classroom we soon realized how much learning could be done in one small campus. The teacher led us through class rooms, rodent rooms, bird rooms, and reptilian rooms. 


The entire time, we Trail Blazers were in awe with smiles across our faces! We also met college students there whom were very kind and each seemed to have a friend or was studying with a group. The Trail Blazers then went into a library where we met a half tailed cat and each gave her a stroke. At last we ended our visit with looking at the four horses used at the school. Everyone enjoyed the tour and thanked the teacher with warm smiles. By Kat Nelson

The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza was an incredible display of the Mexican culture and the beginning of rodeo itself. The event was complete with a mariachi band, Mexican dancers, bull fighting and much more. Both the American and Mexican National Anthems were sang and it was an extravagant blend of nationalities. The rough livestock events (bull riding, bronc riding ect.) were intense. The best bulls and horses were chosen for these events. Also included were the amazing Westernaires and a tribute to wild horses and the Native American Indians. Overall, it was an incredible experience for all who attended. By Mikalya Clark

The Denver Zoo was so fun. We saw so many animals and learned a lot. We walked through the whole zoo and it took over four hours! We saw a polar bear, elephants and wild horses. We even saw a donkey and when we turned away to leave it yelled at us! The zoo was one of the best things we did on our trip. There where so many endangered animals like the red panda, a tiger, and a snow leopard. We got to see animals that no one at home had seen. We had such fun and hope we can do it again. By DeeAnn White

At the Western National Round-Up in Denver, Colorado, we met motivational speaker Shannon Oleen. She taught us about our personal brand and how you need to protect your reputation on social media. Most importantly, your personal brand should not be determined by others and their doubtful, awful and put-downs and opinions. 


I can't wait to apply this advice to my own life. I'm also applying her safe internet image to my life. She used a good example of searching her husband on Google and finding pictures of him in his pajamas. I don't want my future employers to see things like that. All in all, I walked away with a different view on myself and improving my social media presence. By Mya Riley

On the Denver trip we got to experience lots of new things. One of the most new and crazy was the public transportation! I have never ridden a public bus other than to school. Not only that but I have never had to learn it's routes and wait at the bus or train stop. It was really cool how people stepped up and helped us get where we needed to go. So not only did we learn to ride a public bus but we also learned how helpful it is to talk to locals. By Tori Ellison






Crop Insurance and Whole-Farm Revenue Protection


Along with the option of purchasing an individual policy for spring-seeded insurable crops (barley, cabbage, potatoes, oats and wheat), Alaska farmers also have the option of purchasing the whole-farm revenue protection that covers multiple crops under one policy.


Most farm-raised crops, animals and animal products are eligible for protection under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, including specialty and organic commodities. 


Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Producers can use the RMA Cost Estimator to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online.


Farmers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent soon to learn specific details for the 2015 crop year. Crop insurance coverage decisions must be decided on or before the March 16, 2015 sales closing date.


Beginning Farmers and Ranchers


U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than $18 million in grants for the next generation of farmers.  The grants are available through the  Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which was authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill).


The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is currently accepting applications through March 13, 2015 for the 2015 grant cycle.  You can find applications here


More information about support USDA offers for new farmers and ranchers is available at www.usda.gov/newfarmers.   






The 29th Alaska State Legislature is in full swing.  They gaveled in on January 20th with several bills pre-filed.  The following bills are those relating to agriculture and may be of interest:    


HB 20 -"An act limiting the application of neonicotinoid pesticides."  Introduced by Representative Drummond.  HB 20 was referred to the House Resource Committee.


HB 38 - "An act relating to the rapid response to, and control of, aquatic invasive species and establishing the aquatic invasive species response fund." Introduced by Representative Seaton.  HB 38 was referred to the House Resource and Finance Committees


HB 53 - "An act relating to the application of pesticides and broadcast chemicals in certain public places near fish habitat or water used for human consumption and on state-owned land, land leased by or to the state, state highways, and state-owned rights-of-way."  Introduced by Representatives Kreiss-Tomkins, Ortiz and Gara.  HB 53 was referred to the House Transportation and Resource Committees.


HB 59 - "An act relating to marijuana concentrates; and providing for an effective date."  Introduced by Representative Seaton.  HB 59 was referred to the House Health and Social Services and Judiciary Committees.


HB 92- "An Act relating to the labeling of food; relating to the misbranding of food; requiring labeling of food produced with genetic engineering; and providing for an effective date."  Introduced by Representative Tarr.  Referred to the House Resource and Finance Committees..


SB 08- "An act relating to the regulation and production of industrial hemp." Introduced by Senator Ellis.  SB 8 was referred to the Senate Resource, Judiciary and Finance Committees. 


Information on legislation can be found at www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/start.asp.  To follow specific bills use the Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF) http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/btmf_login.asp?session=29.  







View a list of all the member benefits at



Polaris ®

Limited Time Offer! 

Valid February 1 - March 31, 2015



Polaris® is pleased to announce that for a limited time Farm Bureau members will be eligible for a $300 manufacturer's incentive, in addition to current event sale pricing and finance offers, for their full-size snowmobiles.


Polaris offers four different lines of snowmobiles made to fit the needs of each rider. Whether you prefer to ride on trails, in deep snow or are just looking for a casual ride, Polaris has what you need to dominate any terrain. The $300 rebate can be applied to any full-size model from any of these sled lines. Youth vehicles are excluded.         


To take advantage of incentives available for the purchase of qualifying Polaris vehicles, members should visit www.fbverify.com/polaris.  To qualify, a minimum of 30 days membership in a participating state is required. Members can confirm eligibility and print a required certificate by entering their membership number and zip code. There is no limit to the number of incentive discounts that a Farm Bureau member may use, so long as it's no more than one per unit acquired. Snow checks, youth sleds and other youth vehicles are not eligible for this offer.




Free Prescription Discount Card for Members


The Farm Bureau Discount Rx Card is a free prescription discount program that offers free drug cards to all members, friends and families. The program provides discounts on both brand and generic medications up to 75%. The program has no restrictions to membership, no income requirements, no age limitations and there are no applications to fill out. All members are eligible to receive savings!


The Farm Bureau Discount Rx Card was launched to help uninsured and underinsured individuals afford their prescription medications. The program can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts (HSA) and high deductible health plans. Additionally, people with prescription coverage can use the program to get a discount on prescription drugs that are not covered by insurance.

There are currently more than 56,000 pharmacy locations across the country participating in the program, including all major pharmacy chains.  To locate participating pharmacies and search medication pricing, go to the Health Care Section of www.fbadvantage.com. There, you can learn more about the program and print free customized cards for your friends and family. No personal information is required to print a card and all prescriptions processed through the program are completely confidential.  




Silvertip Design


If you're thinking about making hats, T-shirts, and more to promote your operation, Silvertip Design in Palmer offers a discount to Farm Bureau members.  If you're in the area and looking for Alaska Grown apparel, stop in and check them out!





Verizon Wireless


Eligible Farm Bureau members could receive up to 20% off plans with Verizon Wireless, and 25% off accessories.  To find out if you qualify for this great new Farm Bureau program, please email Verizon Wireless with your farm company information: [email protected]


View more information on Verizon Wireless benefits on our website. 



ARRC - Lending to Farmers Is Our Business


Line of Credit loans for all farm-operating costs. (3 years) Chattel loans for equipment new or used (5 years on used 7 years on new). 

Real Estate loans for purchase or improvements to land (up to 20 years.)


All loans are 5 to 9 percent interest depending on credit and collateral.  Call Steve at 907-745-3390 or email at [email protected]. 




Harold John Olson  (1949 - 2014)


Harold John Olson was born on Jan. 23, 1949, and passed away on Dec. 14, 2014. Harold Olson was a major character in an Alaskan epic story. His genetic memory carried Viking strength and adventure and William Clark (Lewis and Clark Expedition) in breaking through a trail on uncharted land.  


He left for his next great adventure on Dec. 14, 2014, at home with family and his devoted dogs. The Olson family trekked north in the mid 1940s. The Alcan Highway was in its rough stages of newness, but it led them to Haines, Alaska, where his father worked on the Chilkoot-Haines railroad project. 


Harold and his twin, Arnold, were born in Skagway, Alaska, in 1949. Not long after, the Olsons moved north, to Anchorage, Alaska, and homesteaded a five acre tract on Kuskokwim Ave., off of Muldoon Road. In 1953, the family came to the Mat-Su Valley, to the north side of the Little Su River, and cast their fates to a bigger homesteading challenge of 160 acres. 


Harold graduated from Wasilla High School in 1967, and attended Sheldon Jackson College and UAF. He was always routed back to the homestead. This man had earth and sky in his blood. With good fortune he began flying at an early age and flew for what was then Lazy Mountain Air Service (outside of Palmer) and at a later time was the General Manager. One time, the legendary Don Sheldon told him, "You don't quit flying till the parts quit falling." 


His love of equipment led him to work with the Army Corps of Engineers until the Olson family became involved with the different Agricultural Projects in Alaska. Although the original Wasilla Homestead used some equipment for clearing the land, the Delta Barley Project 1 (Delta Jct., Alaska) was a behemoth undertaking. Harold cleared 3000 acres of large timber with two dozers and a chain, and then broke the land for cultivation using the huge Steiger tractor and breaking disk. 


There were always mechanical and weather challenges. When the Pt. McKenzie Project came on line, he went south, with the two dozers, chain and his dog, Happy, to clear a couple thousand more acres. He spoke slowly, often attributed to his Norwegian inclinations, or because he wanted to say exactly what he was thinking. Coffee breaks with him were beyond "breaks," they were known to go on for a while; during which time he could speak of bio-diesel. Indeed, he would make it, and use it. He saw things differently and at times was considered "off the wall" looking for gold deposits with radio waves. 


Evidence of his work is everywhere. Driving up the quarter mile driveway daily, we are reminded that life continues on the wits and labors of those who have gone before us. The Olson Homestead Cemetery, to the side of the original cabin, is a testimony to the family's love of Alaska and the land. 


Manvil and Beulah Olson, Harold's parents, preceded him in death, as did his twin brother, Arnold. Survivors include his wife, Orianne (Orrie); his son, John; granddaughter, Daphnie; sister, Karen Olson and her sons, Leighton and Conan Lee and their families; and nephew, Stanley Olson. Harold is truly missed by all extended family and friends, way too many to enumerate. 


As a tribute to his friendliness and compassion, a neighbor wrote the following Mr. Harold Olson A pioneering man, Made a good hearty living out of raw beautiful land. He always gave time to help others in need. He was selfless in nature and happy to greet. Thank you Harold for being a friend, and think of our laughter now and again. A memorial celebration will occur in the spring. His cremains will be shared with the Olson Cemetery and the Alaska Range, where he loved to fly. "---the parts quit falling." 


Check out Al Poindexter's new logo and website created by 23 Kazoos!






Here's what Al says about working with Wendy:


"I'm more than happy with my new website and logo! Wendy is so stinkin' helpful!-Al Poindexter, Anchor Point Greenhouse LLC  


Alaska Farm Bureau members get 20% off new websites plus a FREE LOGO ($300 value)!!


Contact Wendy Now!


[email protected]








Adorable Pug Puppies:  These puppies are sweet and will make a loyal and true friend.  They have been well bred and will grow up to be beautiful babies.  All are vet check, wormed and will have their vaccinations before heading to their new homes.  Text Maria at 802-347-4497.  Located in Bethel, AK.



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, http://www.akbb15.com/
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 on 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.


Reindeer Needed for 4-H Program:  The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is building a new herd of reindeer for a 4-H reindeer husbandry program.  In the winter months, 4-H students will stay in the wildlife center's bunkhouses learning all aspects of reindeer husbandry and wildlife husbandry. 


Students will be sourced from the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound Villages, Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley.  Spring calves will all be bottle fed by the students.  Each student will then stay at the center for 2 weeks during the summer.  An approved enclosure will be built at the student's home.  In the fall, the student will take their reindeer calf or calves home and continue their 4-H project.


There is no cost to the student for this program and the calf is donated to them.  The University of Fairbanks, School of Natural Resources and Agriculture Science has had great success with this program in Fairbanks.  We hope to do the same in our area.


We gathered a few reindeer from breeders along the road system, but we could use more as we have more applicants than animals.  We ask reindeer breeders to consider a tax-deductible donation.  The value of the reindeer plus the transportation expense would be 100% tax deductible.  AWCC's CPA would create the necessary paperwork for IRS. 


Mike Miller, Executive Director Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) PO Box 949, Mile 79 Seward Highway, Portage, AK 99587. Phone 907-301-7942. 


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 (c) (3) environmental education organization in Homer. It was established in 1982. E-mail [email protected] for more information. Telephone: 907-235-6667.  


For Sale:  2008 Dodge 3500 Pickup.  4 door crew cab, 6.7 l inline diesel engine, turbo charger, duel rear wheels.  Black with Leer Topper.  5th wheel attachment, 6-speed automatic.  Excellent condition with all the bells and whistles. Super chip included.  151,000 miles.  Please call Jeannie Pinkelman in Delta Junction at 907-895-4006 or 895-4594.


Farm for Sale in North Pole:  A 9 acre farm/tourism lodge at 2100 Nelson Road in North Pole.  See photos at Stars and Stripes or Madden real estate sites.  A 20'x 40' attached, insulated greenhouse, fully landscaped grounds, tree nursery, large vegetable garden (only natural fertilizers used), pasture, woods in blueberries and cranberries.  There is a 2-story log lodge, Greatland triple-pane windows, stainless commercial kitchen, 2-bed, three bath, covered porches, and gazebo.  Good well water.  $299,000.  Two additional acres with airstrip access available.  Website:  chenalakesfarm.com.  Contact Tracy Pulido at [email protected].


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.  $99.000 OBO.  Contact Tracey Pulido at [email protected].  See photos on Fairbanks Craigslist.


Classified Ads ARE FREE to Alaska Farm Bureau Members.  Submit your ad online or send to Executive Director Amy Seitz, [email protected] or by calling 907-252-5064.



February 18th:  8:00am:  Webinar on Mobile Slaughter Units.  To attend go to https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/nichemeat

5-10 minutes before start time and log in as a guest.



March 3rd & 4th: SARE Conference: Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center.



March 21st:  9:00am-4:00pm:  Kenai Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Districts 5th Annual Ag Forum, Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds.



April 2nd - 3rd, 2015: Southeast Farm & Fish To School Conference:  In Juneau.  Travel scholarships will be available.  For more information, e-mail: [email protected].



May 5 - Alaska Agriculture Day - start planning NOW to celebrate!