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.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.