Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/14/2018 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
01:30:49 PM Start
01:31:28 PM HB217
03:01:52 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 217 RAW MILK SALES; FOOD EXEMPT FROM REGS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Presentation: Growing Alaska's Agriculture TELECONFERENCED
Economy by:
- Arthur Keyes, Director, Div. of Agriculture,
DNR
- Amy Seitz & Bryce Wrigley, AK Farm Bureau
- Suzy Crosby, Cottonwood Creek Farm
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 14, 2018                                                                                        
                           1:30 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Lincoln, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Chris Tuck (alternate)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 217                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the Alaska Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act;                                                                    
relating to the sale of milk, milk products, raw milk, and raw                                                                  
milk products; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 217                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RAW MILK SALES; FOOD EXEMPT FROM REGS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
04/07/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/07/17       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
04/12/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/12/17       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/13/17       (H)       RES AT 5:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/13/17       (H)       -- Continued from 4/12/17 --                                                                           
04/14/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/14/17       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
04/17/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/17/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/17/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
01/31/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
01/31/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/31/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/07/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/07/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/07/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/14/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ARTHUR KEYES, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Agriculture                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:     Provided   a  PowerPoint   presentation                                                             
entitled, "Alaska Agriculture," dated 2/14/18.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI HANSEN, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered  to provide  additional information                                                             
during  the   presentation  by   the  Division   of  Agriculture,                                                               
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AMY SEITZ, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc.                                                                                                        
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                             
entitled,  "Alaska  Farm  Bureau,   The  Voice  of  Agriculture,"                                                               
[undated].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE WRIGLEY, President                                                                                                        
Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc.                                                                                                        
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  Presentation                                                             
entitled,  "Alaska  Farm  Bureau,   The  Voice  of  Agriculture,"                                                               
[undated].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN CROSBY, Spokesperson                                                                                                      
Cottonwood Creek Farm                                                                                                           
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on herd sharing.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE AREVALO                                                                                                                  
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support during  the hearing of                                                             
HB 217.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE PIERCE                                                                                                                   
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support during  the hearing of                                                             
HB 217.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  GERAN   TARR  called   the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at  1:30 p.m.   Representatives Tarr,                                                               
Birch,  Parish, Talerico,  Rauscher, Drummond,  Johnson, Lincoln,                                                               
and Josephson were present at the call to order.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
           HB 217-RAW MILK SALES; FOOD EXEMPT FROM REGS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 217,  "An Act  relating to  the Alaska  Food,                                                               
Drug,  and Cosmetic  Act;  relating  to the  sale  of milk,  milk                                                               
products, raw milk,  and raw milk products; and  providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  Department of                                                               
Natural Resources  (DNR), gave  his brief  background information                                                               
and described  the meaning  of specialty  crops such  as produce.                                                               
He   provided  a   PowerPoint   presentation  entitled,   "Alaska                                                               
Agriculture," dated  2/14/18, beginning  with an agenda  on slide                                                               
2,  and  introduced a  video  of  statements from  three  Alaskan                                                               
farmers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:36:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A short video was shown from 1:36 p.m. to 1:39 p.m.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES continued  to  slide 4,  noting  Alaskans consume  156                                                               
million pounds of  poultry, pork, and beef  annually, and produce                                                               
approximately 2.5 million pounds of  beef and pork, [estimated as                                                               
of 2016], and  poultry [estimated as of 2012].   He explained the                                                               
data  for poultry  is out-of-date  and the  division expects  the                                                               
local numbers  for poultry to  increase dramatically.   In regard                                                               
to dairy,  as of 2017, Alaska  has one dairy and  he said because                                                               
Alaskans consume  32 million pounds  of milk per year,  dairy and                                                               
other   sources  of   protein  are   products  that   provide  an                                                               
opportunity  for  growth  in  agriculture in  Alaska.    Slide  5                                                               
indicated the  number of farms  in Alaska has increased  from 570                                                               
in 1992  to 762  in 2012, which  has led also  to an  increase in                                                               
livestock;  livestock  are  a   cornerstone  of  the  agriculture                                                               
industry  because livestock  need grain  and  hay for  feed.   In                                                               
response  to Representative  Drummond,  Mr.  Keyes explained  the                                                               
2017 Census for  Agriculture is underway and  the U.S. Department                                                               
of  Agriculture (USDA)  will release  census data  to the  public                                                               
later in 2018.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:46:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  asked  how the  Census  for  Agriculture                                                               
defines a farm for its data.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES said  a farm  must generate  some sales  income to  be                                                               
included in the census.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH inquired as  to the geographic breakdown of                                                               
the farms indicated on slide 5.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES speculated  Alaska has  three  traditional centers  of                                                               
agriculture:  the Kenai Peninsula,  the Matanuska Valley, and the                                                               
Delta  Junction and  Fairbanks area;  however, farms  are located                                                               
all around the state.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI  HANSEN,  Deputy  Commissioner,  DNR,  offered  to  provide                                                               
specific information on where farms are located.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  informed the committee  since 1981 there have  been no                                                               
positions in  the division  with the  expertise and  direction to                                                               
develop  the livestock  industry; in  fact, Alaska  only produces                                                               
1.5 percent  to 1.6  percent of its  consumption and  he restated                                                               
the  opportunity  to grow  the  industry.   He  acknowledged  the                                                               
division  has  existing  programs  which  support  the  livestock                                                               
industry, such as  land sales, loan programs,  retail access, and                                                               
farmers' markets, but the programs  lack important veterinary and                                                               
scientific knowledge (slide 6).   Mr. Keyes said the division has                                                               
proposed a livestock program that  would consist of two positions                                                               
- a  veterinarian and a  development specialist - who  would meet                                                               
with   producers,    and   collaborate   with    private   sector                                                               
veterinarians, USDA,  the Cooperative State  Research, Education,                                                               
and Extension Service, USDA, the  University of Alaska, and other                                                               
stakeholders.    Further,  the   livestock  program  staff  would                                                               
provide  support for  the development  of  the industry,  provide                                                               
current  reliable  information,  and advocate  for  the  industry                                                               
(slide 7).  He spoke to the importance of the proposed program.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked where the  program would be based and                                                               
whether staff  would travel to support  all agricultural programs                                                               
in the state, such as caribou herding and poultry raising.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  opined staff would  be housed  in Palmer.   He advised                                                               
there are  two veterinarians on  staff at U.S. Fish  and Wildlife                                                               
Service,  U.S.  Department  of the  Interior,  for  caribou,  but                                                               
poultry would fall within the purview of the proposed program.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   asked  whether  farmed   reindeer  are                                                               
considered livestock or wildlife, or  if reindeer are the same as                                                               
caribou.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:53:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES said reindeer and  caribou are distinctly different; he                                                               
acknowledged the  division, because  of the  lack of  a livestock                                                               
program since  1981, is not  involved with reindeer herding.   In                                                               
further response to Representative Drummond,  he was unsure as to                                                               
the impact of the livestock  program related to reindeer herding.                                                               
Mr. Keyes  continued to slide  8, noting producers  have informed                                                               
the division they  seek a one-stop shop for  answers to questions                                                               
about feed,  health, and importing  livestock in  Alaska's unique                                                               
conditions.   The division  can answer  questions about  land and                                                               
loans,  but the  veterinarian  position is  needed  to provide  a                                                               
science background,  and he assured the  committee both positions                                                               
would be busy.  One goal  of the livestock industry program is to                                                               
double production by 2020 (slide 9).                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   LINCOLN  questioned   whether  an   increase  in                                                               
production is possible from existing farms.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  has heard some  existing producers intend  to increase                                                               
production, and growth  is expected from existing  and new farms.                                                               
Turning  to  food security,  he  pointed  out  92 percent  to  98                                                               
percent  of  food  in  Alaska is  imported,  thus  every  Alaskan                                                               
depends on barges,  trains, boats, and trucks  for food; however,                                                               
Alaska grown food  is of higher quality, can  be grown everywhere                                                               
in the state, and is an economic opportunity (slide 10).                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:59:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   expressed  his  concern   about  proposed                                                               
legislation that  would increase the surcharge  a municipality or                                                               
school district would  pay for Alaska grown  food, and questioned                                                               
whether  it  is  necessary  to increase  the  percentage  from  7                                                               
percent to 15 percent for locally grown products.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES  gave  the  example  of  imported  milk  available  in                                                               
Anchorage for less  than $4 per gallon, and  local milk available                                                               
for $5.50  per gallon.   He  said the  shipping cost  of imported                                                               
milk is subsidized  to the detriment of local  dairies and Alaska                                                               
is a dumping ground for outside products.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  restated his  objection  to  a 15  percent                                                               
surcharge.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES  advised the  Anchorage  School  District serves  over                                                               
30,000 meals per day and  switched from powdered potato flakes to                                                               
local potatoes to  make mashed potatoes at an  additional cost of                                                               
1.4 cents.   Not all higher  costs for local products  will be 15                                                               
percent;  however,  even  at  15  percent,  health  and  economic                                                               
benefits  to  a community  would  offset  the  cost.   Mr.  Keyes                                                               
returned  to  food  security,  and said  there  are  40  farmers'                                                               
markets  in  Alaska  supplied by  innovative  producers  such  as                                                               
indoor hydroponic growing systems and  high tunnels, which can be                                                               
utilized in  every Alaska  community (slide  11).   Food security                                                               
and access  would be strengthened  if each Alaskan spends  $5 per                                                               
week  on local  food, which  would put  $188 million  in Alaska's                                                               
economy,  and the  division seeks  to connect  Alaska farmers  to                                                               
retail outlets  and Alaska consumers  (slide 12).   As elsewhere,                                                               
Alaskans only  eat 10 percent  of the recommended  consumption of                                                               
fruits  and vegetables,  and through  the Alaska  Farm to  School                                                               
Program, the division has seen  success in getting fresh products                                                               
into school lunches,  which can happen throughout the  state.  In                                                               
addition  to cost  savings by  using Alaska  Grown products,  the                                                               
program  provides better  food options  for children  (slide 13).                                                               
Everyone can support this program  by participating in the Alaska                                                               
Grown  $5  Challenge, by  visiting  a  local farmer,  greenhouse,                                                               
orchard, or garden,  and he further described the  success of the                                                               
Alaska Grown program,  which will be expanded  next season (slide                                                               
14).                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:09:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  asked for  clarification as to  which crops                                                               
have expiration dates.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  explained produce items  expire "on their own"  and do                                                               
not require an expiration date.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  asked  whether marijuana  [production]  is                                                               
handled by the division.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES  said  marijuana  is   overseen  by  the  Alcohol  and                                                               
Marijuana Control  [Office], Department of Commerce,  Community &                                                               
Economic Development; after the  passage of proposed legislation,                                                               
hemp  will be  a crop  and  thus overseen  by the  division.   In                                                               
response  to  Representative Lincoln,  Mr.  Keyes  said he  would                                                               
provide   Representative   Lincoln  additional   information   on                                                               
shipping subsidies.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND referred  to proposed legislation related                                                               
to  industrial hemp  and  advised the  bill  defines the  maximum                                                               
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level allowed in industrial hemp.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  suggested   the  division  compile  the                                                               
information  shown on  slides 4  and  9 of  the presentation  for                                                               
clarification.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:13:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:13 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:15:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMY  SEITZ,   Executive  Director,  Alaska  Farm   Bureau,  Inc.,                                                               
informed  the  committee  the  Alaska  Farm  Bureau,  Inc.  (Farm                                                               
Bureau)  is  the  largest agriculture  advocacy  organization  in                                                               
Alaska, has  400 members, and  seeks to promote policy  that will                                                               
expand the  agricultural industry in  Alaska.  A strong  policy -                                                               
as directed  by Farm Bureau  members - will build  farms, improve                                                               
food  security, and  stabilize local  economies (slide  1).   The                                                               
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  by   expanding  farming  opportunities,  educating                                                               
consumers, and  securing the future  of family farms  and farmers                                                               
(slide 2).   Ms. Seitz stated  Alaskans produce 5 percent  of the                                                               
food  consumed, and  without successful  farms and  ranches, food                                                               
security will continue to be  threatened by natural disasters and                                                               
interrupted  shipping.   She pointed  out farming  includes other                                                               
industries that contribute  to the local economy  such as natural                                                               
fibers  of   wool,  cashmere,  angora,  and   qiviut,  the  peony                                                               
industry,   and   Rhodiola.     She   concluded   expanding   the                                                               
agricultural industry enriches the  life of Alaskans through food                                                               
security and sustainable local economies.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE WRIGLEY,  President, Alaska  Farm Bureau, Inc.,  added food                                                               
security has  been a priority  for the  Farm Bureau for  about 10                                                               
years and it has sought  through various initiatives to reach its                                                               
ultimate goal:   Alaska  farms feeding  Alaskans a  balanced diet                                                               
for  about 90  days following  an  emergency.   For example,  the                                                               
Centers  for  Disease  Control   and  Prevention  advise  a  food                                                               
transportation quarantine could  be in effect for up  to 90 days.                                                               
He  advised  a  balanced  diet grown  in  Alaska  includes  meat,                                                               
grains, dairy, fruits,  and vegetables and should  become part of                                                               
Alaska's distribution chain available in grocery stores.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked  whether there is a  policy for food                                                               
distribution  within  the  state,  after  products  have  reached                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WRIGLEY said  food distribution  within the  state has  only                                                               
been discussed  in broad terms  of community  emergency planning;                                                               
he  pointed  out food  grown  in  Alaska originates  1,800  miles                                                               
closer  than products  shipped  from Outside,  and  would not  be                                                               
affected by an emergency in the Lower 48.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR   announced  a   statewide  food   policy  meeting                                                               
scheduled for March 5, [2018].                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  observed in Anchorage,  Costco Wholesale                                                               
provides local meats and fish, but not local vegetables.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY explained large chain  stores usually purchase though                                                               
a distributor; for example, during  the Alaska Grown $5 Challenge                                                               
23  Safeway  stores  opened  to  his products  and  he  needed  a                                                               
distributor for  deliveries.  Pertaining to  Costco, he suggested                                                               
certain  stores may  have a  policy  that allows  them to  source                                                               
products, but generally a distributor is involved.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SEITZ expressed  her belief  Costco is  interested in  local                                                               
products.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:27:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY continued  to explain if Alaska products  are part of                                                               
the  food distribution  chain -  with  a 90-day  supply in  bins,                                                               
feedlots, and  storage bins -  large storage vessels kept  for an                                                               
emergency are  unnecessary (slide  3).   Slide 4  illustrated the                                                               
Alaska Food Pyramid, and he said  all aspects of the food pyramid                                                               
can  be  raised  in  Alaska, including  nutrition,  fiber,  fats,                                                               
vegetables, minerals, and vitamins.   To achieve the goal, Alaska                                                               
could produce a  90-day supply of potatoes  from 1,200 cultivated                                                               
acres; current production is 560  acres; in fact, a 90-day supply                                                               
of  potatoes  and  carrots  would not  be  difficult,  but  other                                                               
products need an increase in  the market to create an opportunity                                                               
for  farmers to  increase supply  (slide  5).   Mr. Wrigley  said                                                               
another important function of the  Farm Bureau is to advocate for                                                               
policies to  assist agriculture, which takes  cooperation between                                                               
legislators, the administration, and  farmers.  Other states have                                                               
had  many years  to develop  agricultural systems  and processing                                                               
and to  adjust to changing  laws and  policies.  In  Alaska, food                                                               
production and processing capacity is  in its infancy and farmers                                                               
are challenged  by federal policies  and new proposals such  as a                                                               
sin  tax  on  meat,  or  restrictions on  the  ability  to  raise                                                               
livestock on  one's farm.   He  stressed the  Farm Bureau  can be                                                               
relied  upon  to  provide  accurate  policy  recommendations  for                                                               
agriculture and not personal opinion (slide 6).                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:32:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  discussed a partnership  with the division,  the Kenai                                                               
Soil and Water  Conservation District, and the  Farm Bureau, that                                                               
resulted in the  Alaska Grown $5 Challenge, and  she explained $5                                                               
spent by every  Alaskan each week on Alaska  Grown products would                                                               
add $188 million  to Alaska's economy (slide 7).   The purpose is                                                               
to  educate  residents about  products  that  are available;  the                                                               
division  involved   retailers  who  successfully   promoted  the                                                               
program and  the agricultural industry.   Opportunities  can also                                                               
be    expanded    through    partnerships    with    legislators,                                                               
administrators, and  policymakers to support small  and beginning                                                               
farmers and  ranchers in Alaska.   Ms. Seitz opined HB  217 would                                                               
help  smaller  farmers  and  the  cottage  food  industry  access                                                               
markets and  provide more options  for consumers.   Other aspects                                                               
of policy include state land  issues, overregulation that burdens                                                               
farmers, and excessive  taxes.  Although the sale of  raw milk is                                                               
controversial,  it  could result  in  more  farms in  the  state;                                                               
another   policy  issue   is  a   new   sector  of   agriculture,                                                               
agritourism, and the  liability of farmers who  host farm visits,                                                               
"U-pick"  farms,  and school  visits.    She advised  policy  and                                                               
proposed  legislation  is discussed  by  Farm  Bureau members  at                                                               
their annual meetings.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR noted  the agritourism  issue may  be incorporated                                                               
into HB 217.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ introduced several farmers in the galley.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:41:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO asked  for  an estimate  of the  current                                                               
economic impact of the Alaska Grown $5 Challenge.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGLEY was unsure.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES was unsure.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR  recalled farmers introduced the  idea of expanding                                                               
raw milk sales to her at the 2016 Farm Bureau annual meeting.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN CROSBY, Spokesperson, Cottonwood  Creek Farm, said her goat                                                               
farm began herd  sharing after 2003 when her  goats produced more                                                               
milk than  her family  needed.  In  accordance with  Alaska state                                                               
law, the farm now has  several dozen regular herd share customers                                                               
who  purchase a  share  of the  herd,  pay for  a  share of  herd                                                               
expenses, and  receive a share  of milk.   Ms. Crosby  said those                                                               
who seek raw  milk include those who believe it  is perfect food,                                                               
who prefer to eat local products  when possible, who wish to know                                                               
the farmer, and/or who have digestive  issues.  The farm does not                                                               
advertise,   and  participants   are  interested   in  additional                                                               
products, but current law only  allows herd sharing of fluid milk                                                               
to  members.   She  pointed  out raw  milk  is highly  regulated,                                                               
although  there is  food freedom  legislation pending  in Wyoming                                                               
and across  the U.S., and in  Maine raw milk laws  allow licensed                                                               
producers to make cheese, yogurt,  and other products sold on the                                                               
farmer's  property.    Ms.  Crosby acknowledged  raw  milk  is  a                                                               
polarizing issue  that garners  support and  opposition; however,                                                               
the greater  issues are  food freedom  and choice  for consumers.                                                               
She urged the  state to be more encouraging to  small farmers and                                                               
small  producers who  can supply  local products  to friends  and                                                               
neighbors.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:48:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR suggested Alaska could  expand its existing laws to                                                               
follow  the example  set by  Maine  and allow  producers to  sell                                                               
individual containers [of raw milk]  or make other products.  She                                                               
pointed out  imported cheese made  from raw milk is  available in                                                               
Alaska.     Further,  the  Farm  Bureau   expressed  support  for                                                               
expanding raw  milk sales provided inspections  are required, and                                                               
the   Department  of   Environmental   Conservation  urged   [for                                                               
legislation that would require]  producers to maintain a customer                                                               
database in the case a problem arises.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked  how profits are divided  in a herd                                                               
share.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. CROSBY  explained herd share  members pay an initial  $40 fee                                                               
and a  monthly maintenance fee for  a share of the  milk produced                                                               
from the  herd, but members  do not  have rights to  the animals.                                                               
In  further response  to Representative  Rauscher, she  clarified                                                               
the  $40  membership fee  purchases  approximately  a 10  percent                                                               
share of a goat in the herd,  which is also the average amount of                                                               
milk.  Meat  or other products are not involved;  the intent of a                                                               
herd share is to obtain fluid milk for members.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  questioned  how herd  share  members  divide  the                                                               
quantity produced by the herd.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. CROSBY gave  the example of a member who  wants one gallon of                                                               
milk per week; the member would  have a scheduled pick up day and                                                               
pay $75  per month for a  shared maintenance fee and  their share                                                               
of the milk.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND questioned whether  the membership fee is                                                               
in addition to the monthly flat rate.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. CROSBY said  yes, the monthly maintenance flat  rate pays for                                                               
the care and feeding  of the goats.  She added  that goat milk is                                                               
better   for   those   who   are   lactose   intolerant   because                                                               
pasteurization strips milk of many digestive enzymes.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR TARR observed  herd sharing limits a  member's choice as                                                               
to the  quantity of milk.   She invited public  testimony [public                                                               
testimony was not closed at the previous hearing].                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:55:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NICOLE AREVALO  said she  was a resident  of Homer  and expressed                                                               
her support for HB 217.   Ms. Arevalo opined the bill makes sense                                                               
for  Alaska's economy  and for  those who  prefer to  buy locally                                                               
produced foods whenever  possible at farmers' markets  and at the                                                               
local  grocery  store.    There  is  expanding  interest  in  the                                                               
availability of local  foods rather than from Outside  and HB 217                                                               
would  help consumers  who are  interested in  locally grown  and                                                               
wish to support the economy.   Also, producers of local food need                                                               
more  online  outlets, such  as  the  Kenai Peninsula  Food  Hub.                                                               
Further, online  sales would help new  businesses and small-scale                                                               
operations  that offer  jams  and pickles,  and  would also  keep                                                               
money from leaving  the state.  Ms. Arevalo  noted online markets                                                               
do not prevent consumers from  asking questions about products or                                                               
reduce  food  safety,  but  online  forms  can  provide  all  the                                                               
information  needed by  producers and  consumers.   She concluded                                                               
the bill would  also provide for more locally sourced  food to be                                                               
utilized by schools and other state-sponsored agencies.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE PIERCE  expressed his  support for  HB 217.   He  said the                                                               
state  needs to  encourage growing,  and support  its agriculture                                                               
and dairy products, because in  an emergency Alaskans may not get                                                               
food.  He urged Alaskans  to stop depending upon corporations and                                                               
others,  and to  make land  available for  gardening, dairy,  and                                                               
game.  Outside  products do not have  nutritional value; however,                                                               
high tunnels  on the  Kenai Peninsula are  very successful.   Mr.                                                               
Pierce urged  for the state to  give land to farmers  and support                                                               
farming for fresh and healthy food.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:00:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  TARR  closed  public   testimony.    She  introduced  a                                                               
forthcoming  amendment that  would  incorporate  farm tours  into                                                               
sports  and  recreational  activities   in  order  to  limit  the                                                               
liability [of farms conducting tourism activities].                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 217 was held over.                                                                                                           
3:01:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:01 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HRES Alaska's Agriculture Industry Presentation 2.14.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
Agriculture
HB217 (CS) Version J 2.6.18.pdf HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB 217 (CS) Sectional Analysis Version J 2-7-18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 New Sponsor Statement - Alaska Food Freedom 1.30.18.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Fiscal Note - DEC-EHL 1.26.18.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Fiscal Note - DEC-EH 1.26.18.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Version A 4.16.17.PDF HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Alaska Chamber Endorses Food Freedom 10.12.17.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Article Natural News 4.16.17.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Benefits of Farmers Markets 2017 1.30.18.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Sponsor Presentation - Alaska Food Freedom 1-31-18.pdf HRES 1/31/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Building Food Security in Alaska 7.28.14.pdf HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - 2017+AFPC-infographic 2.7.18.pdf HRES 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB217 Supporting Document - Food Hub 2.13.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB 217 Fiscal Note - DNR-AGR 2.1.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HB 217 CS Version J Amendment One, Rep. Tarr 2.13.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217
HRES Farm Bureau - Growing Alaska's Agriculture Presentation 2.14.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
Agriculture
CSHB217 Summary of Changes Ver J to A 2.12.18.pdf HRES 2/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 2/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 217