Starting July 21, Alaska farmers can sign up for the US Department of Agriculture’s Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program.
Under the 2014 Farm Bill, farmers outside the contiguous US can now receive a portion of the costs of shipping their agricultural products over long distances.
The announcement of the new plan was made last Friday by USDA Farm Service Agency administrator Juan Garcia.
Danny Consenstein is the director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. Consenstein said Alaska peony, hay and barley growers will all benefit. Fish producers are not included in the plan, but oyster farmers in Southeast and Prince William Sound can take advantage of the program.
The reimbursement program also pays producers for the costs of buying supplies needed for planting at the start of the season. The benefits to producers are based on costs incurred each fiscal year, subject to an $8,000 cap. Reimbursements are usually paid back in the spring, Consenstein said.
The ruling also affects Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and other islands far from the US mainland.
The USDA will spend $1.8 million in transportation offset costs for producers enrolled in the program in the last year.
- So far, the Juneau School District has enrolled about 230 more students than it expected. If the higher enrollment remains true in October, the district could get enough additional state funding to cover a near $200,000 deficit.
- Juneau-based nonprofit, Southeast Alaska Land Trust, was denied its property tax exemption earlier this year. Now the Assembly will take another look.
- "A lot of ice experts, including myself, thought we were headed for a record year minimum," said Hajo Eicken, a professor at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.