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Agriculture and Horticulture
In 2001, the first peonies at Georgeson Botanical Garden were planted as a research experiment. The experiment bloomed. Today, there are more than 135 commercial peony growers statewide and peonies are Alaska’s only major agricultural export. Vegetable variety trials expanded to the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer. Studies continued on the use of persistent herbicides to control invasive species such as European bird cherry.
Health, Home and Family
An advantage of hosting events via Zoom is that it gives faculty a greater statewide reach for classes on health, food preparation and preservation. For areas of the state with limited bandwidth, some Zoom classes are recorded and emailed to registered attendees. A radon presentation drew more than 200 people from Alaska, as well as nationwide. StrongWomen/Strong Seniors classes continued via Zoom, outdoors or indoors with masks and social distancing. Online classes sometimes attracted 20 to 50 individuals, some from outside Alaska.
Mining and Petroleum Training Service
MAPTS was awarded the U.S. State Department’s “Advancing Greenland’s Mineral Sector Education” grant as subrecipient to the University of Utah. This three-year project includes hosting Greenland staff and students at the MAPTS camp, creating curriculum in partnership with Greenland, and training a local workforce to create a facility that models MAPTS Mine Training Center. This project emphasizes MAPTS’ unique ability to train local workforces and to safely operate in arctic conditions.
Most programming remained remote. The Bristol Bay 4-H Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program completed its ninth year. Take-home activity kits were a big success in 4-H programs around the state; 700 were distributed in Tanana District. In Bethel, the 4-H club served more than 10,000 meals to people who lost their jobs or were otherwise affected by the pandemic.
Cooperative Extension provides trusted, research-based information to Alaskans. It is part of a national education network supported by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and land-grant universities.
Researchers with the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station create knowledge and solve problems in agriculture, forest sciences and outdoor recreation.
The Mining and Petroleum Training Service delivers training, development and consulting services to resource industries.
The impacts here provide a glimpse at our accomplishments for 2021.
Nine farms and the Matanuska Experiment Farm’s vegetable variety trials program contributed to the Tilth Program. Thirty-nine vegetable varieties were donated, totaling 10,632 pounds of produce, a 5,067-pound increase. Alaska Tilth handed out over 1,900 recipe bags, and the produce was used in 100,000 Kids Kupboard meals. The Tilth program not only helps supply food for people in need, but it also helps support local farmers, making our food system more reliable.
Continuing research in spring wheat varieties, cover crops, barley and malting barley. The outcome of this research will provide a spring wheat cultivar that can be grown in Alaska with good quality and thus contribute to Alaska food security. A two-row barley could be used as a malting barley for Alaska brewers.
4-H and Youth
Sitka 4-H’ers worked with the Sitka Conservation Society to collect invasive European black slugs, which are known garden and agricultural pests. A friendly competition resulted in 600 invasive slugs collected, disposed of or shared with scientists.
OneTree Alaska provided birch sap collecting kits to more than 220 families. Kits included a sap bucket and lid, a drill bit, a spile or tap, directions and recipes. Families learned how to collect and measure sap, and turn it into syrup.
Past Annual Highlights
- Boreal Alaska - Learning, Adaptation and Production
- Deltana canola developed at UAF
- Embracing technology to reach more Alaskans
- Extension celebrates 100 years
- Field course, NRM degree prepares Alaska students for careers
- New guide provides Alaska herb information
- Peonies new cash crop for Alaska
- Youth program offers diverse activities