U.S. Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency (FSA) Alaska State Executive Director Danny Consenstein today announced that Alaskan growers, farmers and ranchers who experience high transportation costs will soon receive payments to offset the high cost of farming in Alaska.
Beginning July 20, Alaska farmers can enroll in the Reimbursement Transportation Cost Payment Program (RTCP) for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015. Applicants must submit their application to their Administrative County FSA office by Sept. 11, 2015. Applicants will have until Nov. 2, 2015, to provide supporting documentation.
The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the RTCP, which offsets a portion of the costs of transporting agricultural products over long distances. The program allows farmers and ranchers in Alaska, Hawaii and insular areas including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands of the United States, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau, to recover transportation costs.
"Alaska farmers make a significant contribution to the economy, the health and the security of our communities," said Consenstein. "They provide jobs and healthy, local food for Alaskans."
Alaskan farmers, ranchers and growers from the Interior to Southeast will soon receive financial support to help offset the high cost of producing agricultural commodities in Alaska. These Alaska farmers produce hay, vegetables, oysters, dairy products, grain, livestock, peonies, and other crops.
According to Consenstein, "Alaskan farmers face unique challenges. In addition to our northern climate, they experience high costs of fuel, equipment, materials, and fertilizer because of our location." "RTCP helps level the playing field for our producers and provides more local food at competitive prices for Alaskan consumers."
RTCP Payments are calculated based on the costs incurred for transportation of the agricultural commodity or inputs, subject to an $8,000 per producer cap per FFY. In the event that claims for payments exceed the funds available from the program for a fiscal year, payments will be reduced on a pro-rata basis.
For more information on the RTCP program, farmers and ranchers in Alaska can visit their FSA county office or the FSA website at: www.fsa.usda.gov/ak.