AGRICULTURE IN ALASKA
One of the things I appreciate most about this great state is our ability to be self-sustainable. Alaska can or does produce everything we need for cleaner energy and agriculture. Over the years I have heard so many people including Alaskans say that nothing will grow here because of our short seasons and cold weather. Well, I am here to tell you that it is because of our short (yet vibrant) seasons that give us world record vegetables. The Matanuska Susitna Valley is proving people wrong with viable commercial crops as well as specialty crops growing right here in our own backyard. I have seen some amazing things such as; artichoke, bananas, grapes, cherry and plum trees and yes even a pineapple. With a little help from Permaculture and High Tunnels, Alaska is paving a new way to gain a sustainable life.
The following facts were gathered by the Alaska Division of Agriculture and the AITC National Resource Directory at:
1. What are Alaska's top 3 crops? A: Hay, Barley and Oats with Hay being the top producer for Alaska.
2. What Alaska grown vegetable is fried at the Alaska Chip Co. in Anchorage, Alaska? A: Potatoes
3. What does the "Alaska Grown" label really mean? A: Any Produce baring the Alaska Grown symbol was grown right here in Alaska.
4. Barley stems and oats are cut/baled and used for bedding for farm animals and what non-farm animal? A: Alaska Sled Dogs
5. Can Alaska Farmers grow oranges, pecans, pineapples or bananas outdoors? A: No, Alaska's growing seasons are to long.
6. What giant vegetable gains a prize at the Alaska State Fair every year? A: Cabbage
7. How much land in Alaska is dedicated to farms? A: 900,000
8. In 2007, Scott Robb of Palmer, Alaska entered 2 World Record Kale at the Alaska State Fair, how heavy was the largest? A: 105.9 lbs.
9. Mr. Scott Robb also in 1999 submitted a Rutabaga World Record at what weight? A: 75.75 lbs.
10. Alaska has 365 million acres of surface area, how much is suitable waterfowl habitat? A: 50%
11. What location in Alaska produces more potatoes: Tanana Valley or Matanuska Susitna Valley? A: Matanuska Susitna Valley
12. Which region Tanana or Matanuska Susitna has more planted acreage? A: Tanana Valley
13. TRUE OR FALSE: Bindweed and Blue Flowering Lettuce is prohibited in Alaska? A: True; they are on Alaska's list of prohibited/restricted noxious weeds.
14. Why was Alaska in the headlines in 1930's... what Project? A: Matanuska Colony Project
15. What event prompted the Matanuska Colony Project? A: The Great Depression
16. What is the most common way Noxious Weeds are spread in Alaska? A: Recreating People
17. After a volcano eruption, what Alaska city closed their agricultural experiment station? A: Kodiak
18. What percentage of Alaska's food is grown in Alaska? A: 5%
19. Where are Alaska's 2 Experiment Farms located? A: Fairbanks and Palmer
20. How many times larger is Alaska than Texas? A: About 2.5 when the tide is high and over 3x's when the tide is low
21. Today, Alaska's top crop was once traded by miners for gold because of their high vitamin C content, what crop is this? A: Potatos
22. What Alaska waste product when mixed peat makes an excellent compost? A: Fish waste
23. Which of Alaska's Wildflowers has a potential as a forage crop: A: Fireweed
24. Very high anti-oxidant levels in what wild Alaska berry is prompting efforts to manage, and not cultivate for nutraceutical and dietary uses? A: Blueberries
25. What is Permafrost? A: Soil below freezing for 2 or more years.
26. What botanical garden at UAF is nationally recognized and conducts northern climate research projects? A: Georgeson Botanical Garden
27. Where does Alaska place in US Agriculture production? A: 49th or 50th
28. Who is delegated to provide loans to Alaska Farmers? A: Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund (ARLF)
29. Sourdough Bluejoint Reedgrass is currently being studied for what? A: The potential as a Bio-fuel
30. What does Alaska actually mean? A: Alyeska is the Great Land
31. What portion of Alaska farms were operated by women in 2007, with national at 16%? A: About 1/4 (24%)
32. In 1920 Fairbanks opened Alaska first Mill, what kind? A: To mill wheat into flour
33. How many families were originally brought in for the Matanuska colonly Project? A: Approx. 200 families with replacements that arrived later
34. What percentage of food eaten by Alaskans is produced outside of Alaska? A: 95%
35. What crop is raised on the most land on the Kenai Peninsula? A: Hay
36. What percentage of food that is grown in Alaska is consumed by Alaskans? A: 100%
37. What countries are comparable to Alaskas agriculture potential? A: Scandinavian countries
For more information pertaining to Agriculture in Alaska there are many resources:
* Alaska's 12 Soil and Water Conservation Districts: (Anchorage, Copper River Valley, Salcha Delta, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Southeast, Homer, Middle Yukon, Upper Susitna, Kenai, Palmer and Wasilla)
* Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) www.agclassroom.org/ak
* Alaska Division of Agriculture http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag
* University of Fairbanks, Alaska (UAF) www.uaf.edu/salrm
* Natural Resource Conservation Service www.ak.nrcs.usda.gov