Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) speaks to a crowd of people at the Alaska Food Festival on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Land’s End Resort in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) speaks to a crowd of people at the Alaska Food Festival on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Land’s End Resort in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Sen. Sullivan touts federal support for agriculture

In a visit to the Alaska Food Festival and Conference last Friday in Homer, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan highlighted several food and environment-related matters being addressed at the federal level.

Food security and food production are among the areas where things are positive for Alaska right now, the Republican senator said.

“I feel that I’m part of the team that helps to connect, advocate and inform,” Sullivan said in reference to improving Alaska’s food system.

Sullivan addressed changes to the Farm Bill this year. He said that while it’s normally associated with big agriculture, Alaska got a lot out of the legislation this time around. One aspect in particular was a change to the National School Lunch Program, which has a “buy American” provision which is supposed to ensure America-grown and made foods are what ends up in front of students more often than not. Sullivan said legislators this year closed a loophole in that provision that was allowing food from other countries, like China, to enter the program.

“There was a loophole in the current law that, believe it or not, allowed Russian-caught pollock … that then is sent to China, injected with phosphates … and then brought back to America, breaded here, and then they considered that breading made in America,” Sullivan said.

He highlighted the fact that better, local fish will be more likely to entice students and children to enjoy it.

Both Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (who submitted a recorded message because she wasn’t able to attend the conference) touted the Alaska-positive improvements in the Farm Bill. However, in his initial budget released on Monday, President Donald Trump has proposed slashing the United States Department of Agriculture by $3.6 billion, or 15 percent.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has also proposed cutting agriculture programs in his own budget, by $1.2 million. KTVA reported those kinds of cuts would completely eliminate things like the farm loan program and marketing for Alaska Grown products.

When asked about these cuts in a meeting with the press and how they relate to federal support for agriculture, Sullivan said he didn’t want to comment specifically on anything the Dunleavy administration is doing. He did, however, say he would caution Alaska legislators to be mindful of cuts in areas of the state budget that would impact federal matching dollars.

“I did say, keep an eye on the programs with regard to a federal match,” he said. “My job is to continue making progress on the policies … resource development, rebuilding our military, rebuilding our Coast Guard — a federal government that wants to help, you know, boost the private sector in terms of these areas, not shut it down.”

In discussing federal issues that affect Alaska, Sullivan touted the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the possibility of oil drilling. He mentioned the bipartisan support for the Save Our Seas Act, which addresses cleaning up ocean waters.

As someone who supports rebuilding the military in Alaska, Sullivan said he’s looking for more information on another of Trump’s proposed cuts — a plan to take about $3.6 billion from military construction funding in the U.S. and redirect it to help build a barrier on the southern border with Mexico.

“Congressman (Don) Young and I sent a letter to the president on that very issue,” Sullivan said. “And we’re … still requesting information on that. … We’re very focused on it. I can say that, because as I mentioned at the outset, there’s a lot of really important military construction that’s going on in Alaska.”

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read