Alaska’s Food Security Severely Threatened
June 28, 2019 (Anchorage, Alaska) Alaska Governor Dunleavy announced today his vetoes of roughly $400 million from Alaska’s fiscal year 2020 budget. These vetoes have nearly decimated agriculture programs in Alaska.
The Division of Agriculture was almost entirely eliminated; -$1.2 million from Agriculture Development, – $375,000 for the hemp program, – $1.1 million removed from Plant Materials Center, $319,000 removed from the Agriculture Revolving Loan Program administration.
“In a time when Alaska agriculture is seeing such significant growth and having a measurable impact in creating food security for Alaska, it’s baffling why the programs supporting this growth would be cut,” says Alaska Farm Bureau President, Scott Mugrage.
The recently released Census of Agriculture shows Alaska leading the nation in percent of growth in the number of farms. There has also been 20 percent growth in the value of products sold. Programs operated through the Division of Agriculture have been a key part of this growth through things like; developing markets, increasing trade, product research and operating the Alaska Grown program.
“Cuts like these send the message that Alaska doesn’t care about food security or agriculture in general,” says Mugrage.
Mugrage says that the impact of these vetoes will be far-reaching, impacting food, jobs and families in all parts of the state. Without the growth of agriculture in Alaska, reliance on shipping to get food here will increase. At a time when Alaska needs to be self-sufficient, the Governor’s veto will make Alaska more dependent on other states and countries to provide our food.
“We hope that Alaska legislators will show their support for Alaska agriculture and a sustainable food system by overriding these vetoes,” Mugrage states.
About the Alaska Farm Bureau:
The Alaska Farm Bureau is a member of the America Farm Bureau Federation, an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families united for analyzing their problems and formulating action to achieve educational improvement, economic opportunity and social advancement and, thereby, to promote the national well-being.
The Alaska Farm Bureau’s mission is to improve the economic well-being and expansion of agriculture and to enrich the quality of life for all Alaskans. For more information, go to http://www.alaskafb.org.
Alaska Farm Bureau