2018 University of Alaska PDP Project

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $39,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: University of Alaska
Region: Western
State: Alaska
State Coordinator:
Dr. Casey Matney
University of Alaska Fairbanks


Not commodity specific


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, rangeland/pasture management
  • Crop Production: beekeeping, crop improvement and selection, food product quality/safety, high tunnels or hoop houses, nutrient management, pollinator health, varieties and cultivars
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, technical assistance, workshop, youth education
  • Energy: bioenergy and biofuels, energy conservation/efficiency, energy use
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, agritourism, farm-to-restaurant, farmers' markets/farm stands, financial management, land access, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: integrated pest management, prevention, traps
  • Production Systems: holistic management, hydroponics, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
  • Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil microbiology, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, public participation, urban agriculture


    Alaska farms are diverse and spread widely across the state. Alaska is one-fifth the size of the contiguous United States (365 million acres) and is home to roughly 800 farm operations. Fifteen million acres of soil have been designated as suitable for farming, but only about one million acres are currently farmed. While not all acreages are yet being utilized for farming, there is a great potential for agriculture growth within the state, and residents are eager for knowledge. Currently, there are only seven cooperative extension service agents with full or partial agriculture/horticulture appointments to reach all of the communities across the state. In order to be effective, extension agents rely on partnership, collaboration, and cooperation with other agencies and agricultural groups to disperse information across the state. Our goal was to provide an educational conference and workshops/webinars/newsletter to support agricultural professionals and farmers within the state as well as have our WSARE state coordinator attend the annual WSARE PDP summer meeting. In agreement with our goals, we hosted the 14th Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Anchorage, Alaska during November of 2018. The conference provided 83 presentations over three days, as well as a pre-conference produce safety workshop and a post-conference Ag in the Classroom workshop. Participants attended from areas spanning the state.  Speakers presented on agriculture happening across the state from Juneau to Fairbanks and from Kotzebue to Kodiak on all topics agriculture, including mariculture.  A remote and rural agriculture session was featured as a webinar for those who could not attend in person but could call-in or attend online.  The conference and workshops had a combined total of approximately 200 participants. Additionally, we provided five livestock workshops during the summer of 2018, with a combined total of 144 attendees across two locations: Palmer and Soldotna. One of the livestock workshops was also provided as a webinar.

    Project objectives:

    • Host the Annual Alaska Sustainable Agriculture Conference
    • Provide workshops focused on sustainable agriculture
    • Provide webinars/newsletter focused on sustainable agriculture
    • Host and provide access online to conference/workshop presentations and recorded webinars

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.