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Greetings!

 

I hope everyone is having a great start to their summer!  It's pretty dry out in most areas, so be careful and pay attention to any local burn bans in effect.

 

Here on the Peninsula, we've seen a lot of morel mushroom hunters taking advantage of the favorable conditions after the Funny River wildfire last summer.      

 

In this newsletter you'll find some information on grant deadlines coming up, an opportunity to compete for start-up funding on new or expanding business ideas, some hot topics in the U.S. Congress, and some limited time offers from some of our member benefit partners.  Be sure and check those out!

 

We've almost reached membership quota this year!  Copper River Valley, Kodiak, and Kenai Peninsula Chapters have reached quota already.  Delta, Fairbanks and Mat-Su are down to needing just a few more members to renew.  If you're not sure if you've renewed, give me a shout and I will let you know.

 

SAVE THE DATE!

  
Be sure and mark your calendars for the 2015 Friday Forum and Annual Meeting.  It will be held November 13 & 14 at the Crowne Plaza in Anchorage.  And start taking photos to submit for this year's photo contest!  

While you're taking photos, the American Farm Bureau is holding a contest to obtain photos for use in publications and promotions.  The contest runs now through 11:59pm (ET) March 31, 2016.  Go here (AFBF photo contest) for guidelines and rules

 

 


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 regular session came to an end, although legislators were called back in to special session to focus on specific issues such as the budget and Medicaid expansion.  

 

With some major items before the Legislature (a nearly $4 billion deficit and marijuana legislation), agriculture-related issues did not have much movement.  Like many other programs and divisions, agriculture was hit hard in the budget; no funding for the farm to school program, one more year of funding for the phytosanitary program, Mount McKinley Meat, and the potato program.  

 

In the capital budget the Alaska Association of Conservation Districts received no funding and the Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools received no funding.

 

When legislators return to their districts this summer, it's a great time to start forming a connection with them.  I came across some tips on meeting with members of Congress, but they would also be relevant for meeting with state legislators, read the top 5 things NOT to do, here.

 

Below is the status of ag-related legislation from the 2015 session:


 
HB 20 -"An act limiting the application of neonicotinoid pesticides."  Introduced by Representative Drummond.

 

Ended the session  in the House Resources 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. 

 

Ended the session in the House Rules Committee

 

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. 

 

Ended the session in the House Transportation Committee

 

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. 

 

Ended the session in the House Resources Committee.  There is legislation in Congress that would create a nationwide GMO labeling law.

 

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. 

 

Ended the session in the Senate Resources Committee

 

HCR 6 -"Proclaiming July 2015 to be Alaska Peony Month.  Introduced by Representative Guttenberg. 

        

Ended the session in House Resources Committee

 

SB 08"An act relating to the regulation and production of industrial hemp." Introduced by Senator Ellis. 

 

Ended the session in the Senate Judiciary Committee

 

 

 


Congratulations to the recipients of the 2015 Bruce Willard Scholarship!

 

Carolyn Pennington-Chapin of Fairbanks is one of the two scholarship recipients for this year's $2,000 scholarship.  Carolyn is currently, and will continue to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she will be pursuing her Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Sustainability.  Her focus is on agriculture and she is currently working on developing a marketing model for agricultural producer-owned cooperatives.

 

Melissa Clark of Anchor Point is one of the $2000 scholarship recipients this year.  She will be attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks, taking the Pre-Veterinary Science courses.  Melissa has been very involved in agriculture, both in employment and extracurricular activities.  She has worked at Anchor Point Greenhouse for several years and is very involved in the 4-H and FFA programs.  

 

 

 



 

USDA NEWS

 

REMINDER FOR THOSE WITH CROP INSURANCE

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers that the 2014 farm bill requires filing a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1 to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support. 

 

Many farmers already have a certification form on file since it's required for participation in most USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However farmers, such as specialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium support, but may not participate in other USDA programs, also must now file a certification form to maintain their crop insurance premium support.

 

Read the news release from USDA here.

 

ASSISTANCE WITH ORGANIC CERTIFICATION COSTS

 

USDA announced that there is approximately $11.9 million available for organic certification assistance; funding is provided on a cost share basis.  According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the organic industry had over $39 billion in retail sales in the U.S. in 2014 - a record growth in the organic industry.  You can read the full press release here .  

 

To apply, a producer does need to be certified organic at the time of application.  For additional information contact Barbara Hanson with the Alaska Division of Agriculture; Barbara.Hanson@alaska.gov or 907-761-3854.

 

VALUE-ADDED PRODUCER GRANTS

 

The goals of the VAPG program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income.  If you are looking at including value-added in your operation, check out the website here to get more information on this grant opportunity.  The deadline for electronic applications via grants.govis July 2, 1015 and paper applications must be postmarked by July 7, 2015. 

 



 

 

Member Spotlight


 

Musk Ox Development Corporation - Palmer, AK


 

 


 

The Musk Ox Farm is a wonderfully unique and interesting project that was brought to fruition by John J. Teal Jr. in 1954.  John Teal wanted to bring a form of gentle and sustainable agriculture to the far north upon the strong shoulders of the geographically appropriate musk ox.  He envisioned the creation of a cottage fiber industry that would provide Alaska Natives with a homespun opportunity to supplement their subsistence lifestyle.  

 

Qiviut, the gossamer underwool of the musk oxen, is eight times warmer than wool and one of nature's softest fibers.  With fibers that are approximately 1/3 thinner than cashmere, lacks scales, and barbs, qiviut feels like a warm breeze against your skin.

 

The project has gone through many alterations over the past 60 years.  The first 10 years were the test to see if it would even be possible to keep these animals in captivity.  With animals captured in the Canadian Arctic, John Teal found that musk oxen could indeed breed and, in fact, thrive in captivity.  In 1964 the Institute for Northern Agriculture (INAR) was born.  Farms were established in Alaska, Canada, and Norway.  


 

 

 

Within 10 years it was only the farm in Alaska that was showing promise of success.  In 1975 John Teal moved the herd from Fairbanks to Unalakleet in order to bring the animals to the constituents he hoped would benefit from his efforts.  


 

Animal husbandry in Unalakleet brought many challenges, foremost of which was feeding a large herd in a contained area on the tundra.  With a limited amount of range on the permafrost for the animals to feed from it became necessary to supplement their diet with hay.  Flying hay into the bush was no small chore, and certainly not a cheap endeavor either.  At one point hay was being mailed to Unalakleet one bale at a time with appropriate postage affixed.  Change was needed.


 

In 1984, two years after John Teal's passing, the herd came to the road system to find better access to feed.  The consensus at the time was that it was easier to move yarn into the bush for the knitters than it was to move feed.  After a short stay in Montana Creek, just south of Talkeetna, the project moved to our current home in Palmer.  Here we occupy the old Lentz Colony Farm on 75 acres of pastureland.  The herd currently numbers 82 with the number growing at this time of the year.


 

Today we strive to carry out the vision of John Teal.  We are enjoying fantastic herd health and tractability with strong qiviut production.  The farm has undergone a complete rebuild of all of our programs over the course of the past 5 years bringing financial stability and sustainability to the non-profit.  

 

We are in the process of renovating our Colony Barn so that we will be able to run year-round programming that will bring qiviut spinning workshops, fiber artists' retreats, and sustainable agriculture classes to the property.  It's a pretty exciting time here at the Musk Ox Farm!

www.muskoxfarm.org   info@muskoxfarm.org   (907) 745-4151

 

 


In National News

 

Waters of the US (WOTUS)

 

Both the House and Senate have legislation that will stop the proposed rule that would redefine "Waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act issued by EPA and Corps of Engineers. 

 

In the House:  HR 1732 "The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act" requires the EPA and Corps of Engineers to withdraw the current proposed rule that defines the "Waters of the U.S." and tasks them with developing a new proposed rule.  It would also require the EPA and Corps to consult with state and local officials and other stakeholders.   May 12th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1732 by a vote of 261-155.

 

In the Senate: S 1140 "Federal Water Quality Protection Act", also requires agencies to withdraw the current proposal and conduct necessary consultations before bringing a new proposal for consideration.  S 1140 also requires EPA and the Corps to adhere to certain limitations to ensure any new proposal conforms to jurisdictional limits set by Congress.   

 

Water Rights

 

Representative Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) and Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) reintroduced the Water Rights Protection Act (HR 1830 and S 982).  These pieces of legislation are in response to actions by federal land management agencies that would require a producer to hand over privately-held water rights as a condition to renew permits to operate on public lands. 

 

The Act (1) prohibits the agencies from implementing permit conditions that requires the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government (2) prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from imposing other conditions that require the transfer of water rights without just compensation, and (3) upholds longstanding federal deference to state water law. The bill also protects water users.  The Act prohibits federal agencies from obtaining water rights through the use of permits, leases, and other land management arrangements.    

 

GMO Labeling Standards

 

The American Farm Bureau Federation launched a "Get a Move on for GMOs" campaign to provide support for a national, science-based, labeling standard.  The website, GetaMoveOn.fb.org, provides an easy way for farmers to easily express support for legislation creating a national labeling standard.  

 

Currently the U.S. House of Representatives are considering HR 1599 the "Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act."  The U.S. Senate is expected to introduce its version of legislation before the Memorial Day recess. 

 

 



 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

 

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: BearCreekWinery 

 

 

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 ¼ 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.

 

 




 


 

Alaska Rural Rehabilitation Corp.

 

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 steve@arrc.us

 


 

The Farm Bureau Challenge

 


 

The Farm Bureau® Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. American Farm Bureau is committed to helping rural communities thrive. The heartbeat of rural communities are the businesses that are developed there. 

 

The Challenge provides rural entrepreneurs with seed money to help grow their businesses. Rural entrepreneurs pitch innovative business ideas to a team of judges with expertise in business development and agribusiness. The top 10 teams will win at least $10,000 in start-up funds. 

 

The Challenge provides an opportunity for rural entrepreneurs to

  • Develop an idea for a food or agriculture business
  • Create an innovative plan for expanding an existing food or agriculture business
  • Pitch business ideas to a team of expert judges who provide feedback
  • Win up to $30,000 in startup funds to jump start your business
  • Compete for the Farm Bureau® Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • Generate buzz for your business throughout the country

If you have a great idea for a business or want to expand your existing business in a new way apply for the Challenge! It could be your chance to WIN $30,000 in startup funds to take your business to the next level! 

 

To find out more about The Farm Bureau Challenge, including a timeline and eligibility, go to www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge/.




Take the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge! 


The Kenai Peninsula Chapter of the Alaska Farm Bureau, in partnership with the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District and several other local organizations, launched the $5/Week Alaska Grown Challenge on May 5th, in honor of Alaska Agriculture Day.  

 

Now, with the help of social media, Farm Bureau members and local food advocates, we are taking this challenge statewide!  Go to www.alaskafb.org/challenge/ to sign up and help spread the word! 


 

Read the full press release here.


 



MEMBER BENEFITS


 

View complete list of membership benefits on our website: 


 

http://www.alaskafb.org/join/membership-benefits/

 

SPECIAL OFFERS FROM GRAINGER!


 

In addition to FREE standard ground shipping at Grainger.com®, PLUS at least 10% off the Grainger catalog each price, Farm Bureau members can take advantage of special promotional pricing available on Generac generators, Miller welder/generators and Echo outdoor power equipment for a limited time. These special offers end June 30th!


 


 

Save up to 50% off Select Milwaukee® Tool Kits with Extra Battery from Grainger


 

From now through June 30th, take advantage of special discount pricing on select Milwaukee Tool Kits with Extra Battery from Grainger. 


 

Remember, all Farm Bureau Grainger.com® orders also qualify for FREE standard ground shipping. Use Alaska Farm Bureau's unique account number - 855921631 - to "Register Now" at Grainger.com, at your local Grainger store or call customer support at (708) 396-1900.

 

Get 0% Interest for 72 Months on Case IH


Are you in the market for new hay equipment or a utility tractor? For a limited time only, many Case IH customers are eligible for 0% financing for 72 months on Case IH hay tools and Farmall utility tractors. Case IH offers the equipment you need to get the job done on your farm or ranch. Add to that, Alaska Farm Bureau members are eligible for a $300-$500 discount on Case IH Maxxum and Farmall tractors and Case IH hay equipment. Stop by your Case IH dealer today and see how you can save big on the equipment you need to take your operation to the next level.


 

Shop Now for Polaris "Ride Into Summer" Sales Event Savings


 


There is no better time to purchase a Polaris® off-road vehicle. As part of the

Ride into Summer Sales Event, you can earn rebates of up to $1,400 on select new 2014 and 2015 Polaris off-road vehicles. In addition, special finance offers are available at participating Polaris dealers with purchase of qualifying Polaris accessories. 

 

Combine those deals with your Alaska Farm Bureau $200 - $300 member discount  and you have unmatched, exclusive savings! Sale ends June 30th, so get to your nearest Polaris dealer before it's too late!

 

 


 

 

Prescription Drug Program

 

The Farm Bureau Discount Rx Card saves up to 75% on prescription drugs and can be used at over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide! Visit the Health Care section of www.fbadvantage.com to print your free card! 

 


 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

 

May 21: 7:00 pm Fairbanks Chapter meeting @ Ag Museum on the fairgrounds.

 

May 27: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Grants Symposium hosted by the Alaska Congressional Delegation.  This will be held at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.  To RSVP and learn more, click here.

 

June 9: Kodiak Chapter meeting.  5:30 potluck, 6:00 meeting will be held at the Rice home in Bells Flats.

 

August 7-16:  Tanana Valley State Fair.  Info: www.tananavalleystatefair.com

 

August 15-16:  Kenny Lake Fair.  Info: www.alaskakennylakefair.com

 

August 21-23: Kenai Peninsula State Fair.  Info at www.kenaipeninsulafair.com

 

August 27- September 7: Alaska State Fair

 

October 16: World Food Day

 

November 13-14: Alaska Farm Bureau Friday Forum, Anchorage

 



Need Website or Logo Design?

Here's our latest logo design for an AKFB member!

 

 


 

 "I really can't even express how happy I am with what you've done. Having a full time job and trying to farm sustainably makes time the most precious resource to me...and you saved me a ton of time by being so competent and so accessible. It really took a lot of pressure off from me by being able to hand the task over to you! It was well worth every penny!" - Holly Stewart, Northern Roots Farm (about her new logo)

Special Offer for Alaska Farm Bureau Members:

Logo Design $175 (regularly $300)

Call Wendy 480-242-5219 for your custom logo!

(AKFB's Webmaster)



Check out the newest websites we have created!