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.
- “Scrap it,” said Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assemblyman Steve Colligan. “We would be better off spending $500,000 to send it to the scrapyard.”
- Some 34,000 Alaskans are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits but don't apply. That's $65 million from the federal government that's not getting into local economies.
- Nick Pletnikoff, who has autism, was pepper-sprayed outside his home by Kodiak police in September. He was never charged with a crime. The family is suing for more than $100,000 plus punitive damages.
- Scalia was perhaps the leading voice of uncompromising conservatism on the Supreme Court. In his 29 years on the court, he achieved almost a cult following for dissents.