Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alaska Ag....A win, a loss, and a draw

In the card game that is Alaska agriculture, most players understand that they are literally playing against a stacked deck. Most of those have been covered here in previous entries, explaining the challenges facing our local farmers and ranchers, and everyone else attempting to produce food in Alaska.

In the win category, the MMM&S facility formally changed hands. Not without its last minute drama, we're told, but it did indeed close. This is a big win for Mike's Quality Meats of Eagle River.  The BAC, in their wisdom, turned down two nearly full price offers, to accept MQMs fire sale bid in the end. Thus, the problematic plant is off the BAC's books, and no longer under Director Keyes management. 

In the loss column, comes word that Northern Lights Dairy is closing. This will leave one remaining dairy in the entire state: Havemeister's in Palmer. The owners of Northern Lights Dairy can't find help, nor anyone to run it. Director Keyes' comments are pathetically without compassion or comprehension. You can read them yourself with a little digging on the matter.  Keep in mind that just a few decades ago, dozens of dairies were operating across the state. Yes, dozens.

And a draw is discovered when news arises that not one, but two, mobile slaughter plants are in the works. One is already operating with USDA stamp in the Pt. MacKenzie area, and the other will be located a bit north, near Sutton. These developments are a direct result of the DOA's management of MMM&S, and the sale of the plant into private hands.

Continuing the poker seems certain that several jokers are yet to be played, on this tiny stage called Alaska agriculture.  Of course, playing with the CBC of Ag is a high stakes game, pitting lives, fortunes, and livelihoods against the entrenched corruption that seems at ease with food security numbers that give others nightmares.

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