Sullivan Secures Important Provisions for Alaska Fisherman and Farmers In Farm Bill
WASHINGTON, DC— Before the July 4th holiday, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) joined 85 of his colleagues in support of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, which contained important provisions for Alaska. The bill now heads to conference committee with the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Farm Bill supports America’s farmers and ranchers, reauthorizes and improves farm, forestry, and conservation programs, reauthorizes programs and critical funding for water and sewer projects in rural Alaska, expands broadband deployment, and improves food assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It also provides funding for addiction treatment for rural areas to help with the opioid crisis.
As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Senate also adopted an amendment authored by Senator Sullivan that requires only fish caught in U.S. waters to be served in National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. This has the potential to greatly expand markets for Alaska seafood.
“This bill provides farmers in Alaska the certainty that they need to be successful, and provides funding for water in sewer programs across our state,” said Senator Sullivan. “Further, the amendment that I introduced, requiring American-caught seafood to be served in school meal programs, will greatly enhance the quality of food served to our kids and expand markets for our fisherman. The Farm Bill is a win for our farmers, fisherman, our rural communities, and our children.”
Provisions of Alaskan Importance Championed by Senator Sullivan
- Senator Sullivan’s amendment requires that the Secretary of Agriculture fully enforce Buy American requirements in National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Currently, much of the fish served in American schools is caught in Russia, processed in China, and shipped to America to be served in our American schools.
- Reauthorization of the Specialty Crop Block Grant program which supports Alaskan fruit, vegetable, peony, horticulture and nursery crops with past recipients including the Alaskan farmer’s market.
- Reauthorization of the Market Access Program, which partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. This program is important to our marketing Alaskan fish in the United States and across the globe.
- Reauthorization of the Rural Alaska Village Grant program, which provides vital funding to support water and sewer services in rural communities in Alaska. Many of Alaska’s Native rural communities lack basic water and sanitation services. Approximately 20% of Alaska Native homes in rural Alaska are not served by these basic services including 30 communities with no water or sanitation services at all.
- Reauthorization of the Education Grants to Alaska Native Serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions.
- Reauthorization of the Rural Water and Wastewater Circuit Rider Program, the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, and the Rural Water and Wastewater Technical Assistance and Training Programs
- Reauthorization and improvement of the Federal Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), which provides monthly food boxes to specific rural Alaskan communities. The bill also includes a provision similar to the Nourishing Our Golden Years Act, cosponsored by Sen. Sullivan, that streamlines and simplifies the administrative burden for the program providing a monthly food box for low-income seniors.
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