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Greetings!

 

Happy spring to everyone! Can you believe its April already?!

 

It's always nice to see the first rhubarb poking their tops through!

 



 

I understand there are some who are having trouble getting on to the new Alaska Farm Bureau website.  This could be caused by your computer "remembering" the old website.  If you are having problems you may need to clear your browser's cache, here is one place you can go to find directions, or google "how to clear browser cache."  If you have the old website bookmarked or in your favorites you might want to delete it from there as well. 

 

Remember that May 5th, Alaska Ag Day, is fast approaching.  I hope everyone is planning on doing something to promote agriculture awareness in your communities.  Having a day to celebrate agriculture in Alaska is a great tool to use for educating the public and elected officials.  

 

As producers and Ag supporters we need to work on this; I recently ran into a resident of the Kenai Peninsula who didn't even know we have farms in Alaska!  I was astonished and speechless.

 

We have a new "Members" section on our website where members can post information about their operation.  This is a great opportunity to advertise as a Farm Bureau member.  If you want to have your information on the website you can let me know, or go here and enter your information.

 

I have really enjoyed my trips visiting chapter meetings, getting to know our diverse agricultural areas and Farm Bureau members a bit better.  We have a wonderful Ag community with lots of great, innovative ideas that we should share more often with our neighbors, communities and decision makers.  

 

As legislators return to their districts, I hope all of you will take the time to communicate more with them; let them know how important agriculture is in Alaska, and the potential and opportunities we have for expansion.  

 


Amy Seitz, Executive Director


Alaska Farm Bureau

37075 Nicholas View Lane

Soldotna, AK 99669 

907-252-5064 

Amy.Seitz@gmail.com  

 


 


  


 

 

ON THE HILL

 

The 2015 legislative session is coming to an end, bills are moving and work is being done on the budget.  Below is agriculture-related legislation with positions the Alaska Farm Bureau is taking on them.  Along with budget items that will affect the Ag community. This year, with nearly a 4 billion dollar deficit, is a tight budget year with many good programs being cut or reduced agency and statewide.  


 
HB 20 -"An act limiting the application of neonicotinoid pesticides."  Introduced by Representative Drummond.  Currently in the House Resources Committee.

 

The Alaska Farm Bureau is opposing this bill as neonicotinoid pesticides are not currently being used in Alaska and there is not sufficient evidence that these pesticides are the cause of bee colony collapse as claimed.

 

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.  Currently in the House Resources Committee, with an additional referral to the House Finance Committee.

 

Alaska Farm Bureau is providing support for this bill.

 

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.  Currently in the House Transportation Committee with an additional referral to the House Finance Committee. 

 

Alaska Farm Bureau opposes this bill.  In controlling invasive weeds, quick response time is necessary.   

 

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.  Currently in the House Resources Committee with an additional referral to the House Finance Committee.

 

Alaska Farm Bureau agrees that people have a right to know what they are eating.  Instead of piecemealing together labeling laws state by state, there should be a national labeling law.  This would provide the knowledge consumers desire and consistency for producers and grocery stores.

 

HB 100 -"An Act establishing a credit against the net income tax for an in-state processing facility that manufactures urea or ammonia; relating to establishing the value of the state's royalty share of gas production based on contracts with certain in-state processing facilities that manufacture urea or ammonia; and providing for an effective date." Introduced by Representative Chenault.  Moved from the House Resource Committee and is currently in the House Finance Committee.

 

Alaska Farm Bureau will be supporting this bill.  Having an in-state processing facility of urea would provide a local option of fertilizer for some of our farmers.    

 

HCR 6 - Proclaiming July 2015 to be Alaska Peony Month.  Introduced by Representative Guttenberg.  Currently in the House Resource Committee.

 

The Alaska Farm Bureau is providing support for this resolution.

 

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.  Moved from the Senate Resource Committee, currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee with an additional referral to the Senate Finance Committee.

 

The Alaska Farm Bureau is supporting this bill with the caveat that the necessary steps are taken to make sure we don't end up introducing a new noxious weed to this state.

 

HB 72 Operating Budget:

Farm to School Program:

 

Since its inception in May 2010, the Alaska Farm to School Program, operated through the Division of Agriculture, has assisted in getting 100% of our school districts serving at least one local food item in their meal programs.  

 

After the House Finance Committee cut the funding for this program, the Senate Finance Committee added the positions back in the budget so the division could look for other funding sources to keep the program running.

 

Phytosanitary Certification Program:

 

The Division of Ag provides the service of phytosanitary certification for products being exported.  This was removed from the budget in the House.  The Senate Finance Committee added funding back in for this year, allowing the division time to come up with a fee schedule that would cover the cost of this program.

 

Mount McKinley Meat & Sausage and the Potato Program:

 

Both of these programs had "one time increment" (OTI) language added to them.  This means that they will be funded for this coming fiscal year, but will have to come back for legislative approval next session.

 

SB 26 Capital Budget: 

 

Alaska Association of Conservation Districts:

 

Funding for Soil and Water Conservation Districts has historically been provided in the capital budget.  This year there was no funding added to the Governor's budget.  There has been a request submitted to add money for AACD.

 

Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools:

 

Starting in 2012 $3 million has been included in capital budgets to assist schools in purchasing Alaska grown, caught or harvested foods to be used in school meals.  This program is run through the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development with assistance from the Division of Ag.  This session no funding was added to the budget.

 

The Senate Finance Committee is currently working on the Capital Budget. 

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) link.

 


GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

 

Bruce Willard Memorial Scholarship

 

Alaska Farm Bureau will award 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 20, 2015 and can be found  here.

 

Alaska Specialty Crop Competitive Grant

2015 Request for Proposals

 

The Alaska Division of Agriculture announces the availability of grant funds for the sole purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of Alaska Grown specialty crops.  

 

Every year USDA Agricultural Marketing Service distributes block grant funds which are administered by state departments to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.  

 

A letter of intent is due in a digital format by 4:30pm on April 15, 2015.  

 

You can find more information on the timeline and process here.


 

Our Food Link

 

The American Farm Bureau Women's Leadership Committee is offering up to five $1,500 competitive grants to county or state Farm Bureaus to assist in Our Food Link projects. 

 

Our Food Link is a year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus can use to innovatively reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information on food production and systems.

 

Applications must be submitted online and are due May 1, 2015. 

 

Applications can be found here and will be ranked/scored by judges on measurable criteria relating to the project plan and innovation. Grant recipients will be announced in early June. 

 

Review of the project by an Organization Director/Director of Field Services is required for all submitted grant applications.

 

Applications cannot be started and saved, so those applying are encouraged to read through the instructions on page one before continuing through the form.

 

Please consider and complete all essay narrative questions and resource supplemental materials prior to starting the application.

 

If you have any questions about Our Food Link Grant applications, please contact Derek Mulhern (202-406-3629) for more information.

 

Western SARE Releases Calls for Proposals

Funding for Researchers, Ag Professionals, Producers

 

The 2016 Calls for Proposals for four Western SARE grant programs have been released.

 

 The four grants programs include:

  • Research & Education Pre-proposal
  • Professional Development
  • Farmer/Rancher
  • Professional + Producer

Descriptions of each program, dates for submitting pre-proposals and proposals and links to the full call for proposal can be found here.

 

SARE is a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that functions through competitive grants conducted cooperatively by farmers, ranchers, researchers and agricultural professionals to advance farm and ranch systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.

 



 

FOOD SAFETY

 

 

We all agree that proper handling of food is important and want to provide a safe product to our buyers.  One issue we should all familiarize ourselves with is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  

 

President Obama signed this Act into law on January 4, 2011.  It is the most sweeping food-safety reform since 1938, with significant impact on growers, packers, and processors. You can get more information on FSMA, follow the timeline of events, changes in the rule, public comment periods, etc., by visiting the FDA's website

 

The goal of these rules is to prevent foodborne illnesses rather than react to them, but if done improperly they run the risk of putting family farms out of business.  The FDA has done an analysis of economic impacts that covers costs of the proposed rules which can be found here.  

 

The American Farm Bureau Federation has submitted comments on the four key proposed rules; produce safety, 

preventive control for human food, preventive control for animal food, and foreign supplier verification programs.  

 

This is a controversial issue that is regularly changing and we should become more familiar with the rules, exemptions, timeline for implementation, etc.  

 

We should also take the time to speak with our delegation in D.C. - Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young - so they know the views of Alaskan farmers and effects FSMA will have here in Alaska.  

 

One very important aspect of preventing food borne illness is educating consumers on proper handling and care of food once they get it home.

 

Arthur Keyes, one of the Mat-Su Chapter directors has been following this issue closely, you can read his comments here on FSMA.  He is working on gathering comments, concerns and ideas from Alaska's farmers.  If you would like to contact him call 907- 354-5833 or email amkeyes@mtaonline.net.

 

 



 

IN MEMORIAM

 

Robert "Bob" Franklin

1940-2015

 

Robert Harold Franklin 75, "Bob" to many, of Fairbanks and North Pole, passed away accidentally Feb. 26, 2015, at Harborview Medical Center, in Seattle, from complications associated with esophageal perforation.

Robert was born to Harold William Franklin and Erma Lee Franklin (Heminger) on Feb. 16, 1940, in Howell, Michigan. In a family of 10 children, Robert was the ninth child.

At a young age, Robert started out to be a farmer and married at 18 on June 28, 1958, to Yvonne Mary Hill; they were married for 56 years and 8 months. Three sons were born to Robert: Vincent, Brett and Chad.

His wife recalls, "Robert was a very independent person, and trucking became his life. Robert loved to tell many truck stories and lots of jokes. 

Robert had quite an exciting life. Early in life, Robert worked on a farm in Howell, and at the same time, drove a bulk milk truck on weekends. 

He was not satisfied driving only on weekends. We left Michigan and went to California. His brother, Sam, was going to get him started selling books; not Roberts line of work. Robert went to work for Alta Dena Farms, peddling milk to customers in Los Angels, then was offered a job driving truck for a non paying company. 

An accident put him in the hospital and out of a job. His brother, Sam, said, 'Come to Alaska, they need people to work here,' so began his job with K & W trucking. Some other jobs came along but never lasted too long; driving truck was not a very high paying job.

"We moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, for a short time, then came to Fairbanks, where he drove truck for KAPS Trucking, hauling pipe up and down the highway to build the oil pipe line. That finished and he went to work for Mammoth trucking, drove for awhile, and wanted to try dispatching for Mammoth until the company could no longer stay in business. 

Robert became the president for Alaska Farm Bureau for around 10 years and started his business as an interior processor for Alaskan Grown meat that started B-Y Farms. With lots of help from family and friends, Robert's Meat Market did a lot of business. To help when business was slow, Robert would truck for Norm, Still Hope Trucking. 

The meat business did not survive so Robert looked for his favorite line of work - yes, trucking. Robert went to work for Big State Logistics, Inc., as a part-time employee. A happy day it was for him and me. Big State always has been very good to him, letting him be with me so often when I was sick and needed help, his help.

"Thank you, Big State, for your help and consideration. Robert loved to fish; always caught the big one. He loved to spend time with our many friends. Alaska became the home he loved more than any place else that we had ever lived. The song, 'I've Been Everywhere,' was him."

Robert is survived by his wife, Yvonne Franklin, of Fairbanks, who loved him very, very much; two sons, Vincent and his wife, Cindee, of Vancouver, Washington; Brett and his wife, Tanya, of Fairbanks; daughter-in-law Katherine (Bitty), sister Jeanne Kunde Gaylord, of Michigan, sister Lorna Gardner and husband, Norman, of Krum, Texas; his aunt Mary Silsby, of Mason, Michigan; four grandchildren, Jamie Helm and her husband, Len Helm, of Las Vegas; Ryan and his soon-to-be wife, Kiennah, of Vancouver, Washington; Robert and Jayson, of Fairbanks; two great-grandchildren Jaxson Franklin and Charlotte Helm, three brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and many nephews and nieces.

Those who preceded Robert in death include his father and mother, Harold and Erma Franklin; Robert's son, Chad Franklin; one brother, Sam Franklin; six sisters, Lee, Gaynelle, Martha, Dolly, Joan and Jacqueline; many uncles and aunts, and some nephews and nieces.

"A special thank you to my sister, Talli, and her husband, Chris Morales, of Bakersfield, California; and to Jim Baughn and his wife, Althea, of Fowlerville, Michigan. 

Thank you to all of you for your concerns and loving help to me and my family when we arrived home. Robert and I have been Jehovah's Witnesses from a young age, and only recently, since 2007, have we realized we were missing out on what we believed in and hoped for. 

Robert will be missed by his family, countless friends and neighbors who knew him.

"My heart is heavy, having lost my love and best friend. No service is planned by the Franklin family."

 



 

CLASSIFIED ADS


 

Fertilizer Spreader Wanted:

 

We are looking to buy a fertilizer spreader with a 3 point hitch for a small tractor (18hp at pto). If you have one in good working condition, please call Maria at 907-455-7277 (Fairbanks). 

 

Land For Sale North Side of Chena River: 468 acres of beautiful agricultural land along the north side of the Chena River between Peede Road and the Flood Control Dam out of North Pole, Alaska.  

 

Dense birch stands make this the perfect place for agricultural production related to birch sap products. Land is approved for minimal clearing requirements (only 25 acres) to gain title, with no timeline since access is currently by good trail or river only. Priced to sell at $160,000. For more information, call Tom Dooley 907-539-1384.

 

Siberian Husky Puppies: Hi there, i dont know if this is the best place to do this but I really do need to adopt out my adorable Siberian Husky puppies to any happy family out there. I was given this site by a friend who told me she once did and succeeded in finding a home for her dog. Please if there is anyone out there who can help, please do contact me now. Asking $450, located in Anchorage.  He is micro-chipped, wormed, heart worm treated and fully house trained with just moderate exercise needs, for more info and interest, plz call or text Morin at (310) 307-2296 or email: moshanne09@gmail.com.

 

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.  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 have 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 the 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. Email Melanie@akcoastalstudies.org for more information. Telephone: 907-235-6667.  

 

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'x40' 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 info@chenalakesfarm.com.

 

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 mile away.  Very private, but easy access to town.  Owner financing is available.  $99.000 OBO.  Contact Tracey Pulido at info@chenalakesfarm.com.  See photos on Fairbanks Craigslist.

 

Classified Ads are free.  Submit your ad online or to the newsletter editor at amy.seitz@gmail.com or by calling 907-252-5064.

 

 


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

April 15 - Taxes due

 

April 18: 9:00am-4:00pm - 5th annual Kenai Peninsula Ag Forum; view details

 here.

 

April 20-26UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host its annual Spring Extension Week.  Offering a variety of FREE mini classes all week.  Details here. 

 

April 23-24: Food Safety Modernization Act Public MeetingWebcast starting at 4:30 am. Details here. 

 

May 2 & 3: - Fiber Festival at Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds, Ninilchik

 

May 5: Alaska Agriculture Day - I hope you're all planning an ag related activity - take plenty of pictures!

 

August 27- September 7: Alaska State Fair

 

October 16: World Food Day