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US (AK): Export program makes the final cut
A Division of Agriculture inspector position that issues phytosanitary certifications, or phytos, which are required by some importing countries, has been restored indefinitely, after it was on the table during this years’ budget cut discussions.
“I put it forward because we had to make cuts,” said Division of Agriculture Director Franci Havemeister. “I had to make hard decisions. Everyone was looking at cuts across the board.”
Talk of cutting the position sparked concerns with some local producers who are in the middle of developing or considering supplying to international markets.
Peony growers are one of the most established exporters based on the Kenai Peninsula, said Kenai Peninsula Farm Bureau Executive Director Amy Seitz.
Wayne Floyd, who runs Cool Cache Farms in Kenai with his wife Patti Floyd, is a peony producer out of Kenai and member of the Alaska Peony Growers Association, a statewide cooperative that facilitates a more competitive and viable industry.
In 2014, roughly 150,000 stems were sold, Floyd said. Within five years, millions of Alaska’s peonies may be purchased annually, he said.
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