Alaska's farmers and ranchers, whose work accounts for hundreds of jobs and contributes upward of $50 million into the state's economy annually, have found a new voice in Alaska Farm and Ranch News in Delta Junction.
"I saw a need for a consolidated farming publication in the state," said editor Michael Paschall. "There are different publications that come out of different organizations, but there was not a consolidated one."
Paschall is editor and publisher of TriDelta Inc., which publishes Alaska Farm and the Delta Wind, a weekly community newspaper at Delta Junction.
The first monthly edition of Alaska Farm and Ranch News hit mailboxes in January. The publication is backed by the Alaska Farm Bureau, which opted to cancel its own monthly publication and join forces with Paschall.
"I've gotten a lot of positive feedback," said Paschall, whose beat covers include education, biodiesel options and dairies.
Paschall's cover story in the June issue is about educators from Alaska's Interior gathering in Fairbanks to learn how to incorporate agriculture into their classroom curriculum, as part of the Alaska Farm Bureau's agriculture in the classroom program.
In the same issue, Paschall writes in depth about the Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District commissioning a feasibility study to determine the suitability for growing canola and developing a biodiesel operation, and about the history of the pasteurization process for milk.
The 12-page publication is also filled with articles on subjects that included herding trials for sheep, issues regarding dairy, poultry and produce, in addition to other state and national news related to agriculture.
Bryce Wrigley, president of the Alaska Farm Bureau and district manager for the Salcha Delta Soil and Water Conservation District in Delta, said he is pleased with the publication.
"I think it is important that the news gets out and I think this is a good vehicle for it," he said.