CAC Conference Co-Chair Carol E. Lewis (emeritus dean of UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and emeritus director of the Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station) read a letter from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski:
I regret I am unable to join you at the 8th Circumpolar Agricultural Conference.
The unique challenges we face as Alaskans truly align with the conference’s mission and innovative philosophy. Alaska is poised to be an international leader on the interconnected issues of food security, climate change and energy costs. Alaskans are continuing to expand our state’s agricultural base in new and innovative ways. From farms in Bethel, hoop houses on the Kenai Peninsula and geothermal greenhouses in Fairbanks, the fortitude of our state’s farmers and entrepreneurs never ceases to amaze. Alaska and the Arctic have so much collective potential and it is imperative we help develop and execute well-crafted policies to ensure we are a leader in this area.
It is encouraging to see this conference bring together and partner with diverse groups of stakeholders to best serve Alaska. These kids of gatherings help facilitate a much needed dialogue regarding how we as Alaskans envision our collective future. The expertise of educators, elders, politicians, public workers, students, business owners, industry leaders and community members will help ensure that the quality of life and opportunities we enjoy are sustainable over the long term.
I applaud everyone who took part in planning, executing and participating in this project. I look forward to hearing about the practical solutions and innovative strategies discussed at this year’s conference. Thank you for your dedication to Alaska.