Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center
The Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center is a working research farm serving Southcentral Alaska. It has 260 acres of cultivated land and 800 acres of forestland for research or demonstration purposes, including barns, feed storage facilities and pastureland. The experiment farm has a complete complement of farm equipment to produce and harvest grain, forage (hay and silage) and other crops. There are also field and laboratory facilities for research on soils, plants and livestock.
The center collaborates with other entities to support research in the Mat-Su Valley, including Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which conducts nutritional studies with moose and caribou. It also partners with Alaska Pacific University and Alaska Tilth, which use the farm’s greenhouses to grow produce for food-insecure Mat-Su Valley community members. The beef cattle herd is raised for food and educational opportunities, as it supports the UAA Mat-Su College veterinary technician program. Hay produced on the farm feeds the wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and animals at UAF’s Large Animal Research Station in Fairbanks.
It is also home to the Mat-Su/Copper River Cooperative Extension Service district office, which provides community outreach and education in a variety of areas, including agriculture and horticulture; health, home and family development; natural resources and community development; and 4-H and youth development. As the state’s gateway to its university system, Extension helps some 80,000 Alaskans annually. It provides hundreds of publications that are accessible online or in offices. Many of these publications are free and provide Alaskans with useful information on a wide range of topics.
A chapter of the national FFA organization also adds to the many offerings at the farm. Alaska FFA promotes agricultural and natural resource education in Alaska, and helps students develop their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success.