Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES)
About the Experiment Station
The Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES) is administered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The station includes the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, the Matanuska Experiment Farm, the Palmer Research & Extension Center, and the Delta Junction and the Point MacKenzie field research sites. The Georgeson Botanical Garden and the Reindeer Research Program herd are at the Fairbanks farm. The dean of the UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences is also the director of AFES.
Researchers associated with the experiment station focus on creating knowledge and solving problems in agriculture and the forest sciences. State and federal agencies, private industry, and the university sponsor and fund AFES research. The station works in cooperation with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Boreal Ecology Cooperative Research Unit, the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units Network, the Long Term Ecological Research program, and the Alaska Cooperative Extension Service, which is also administered by UAF. The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is the USDA division that manages federal funding of the nation’s experiment stations and the extension service.
The Land Grant Mission in Alaska
The Morrill Act of 1862 established land-grant colleges, and the federal Hatch Act of 1887 authorized agricultural experiment stations in the U.S. and its territories to provide science-based research information to farmers. There are agricultural experiment stations in each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and all but one are part of the land-grant college system. While the experiment stations perform agricultural research, the land-grant colleges provide education in the science and economics of agriculture.
Early experiment station researchers introduced many vegetable cultivars appropriate to Alaska and developed adapted cultivars of grains, grasses, potatoes, and berries. Animal and poultry management was also important. This work continues, as does research in soils and revegetation, forest ecology and management, and rural and economic development. As the state faces new challenges in agriculture and resource management, AFES continues to bring state-of-the-art research information to the people of Alaska.
AFES research results are available on line at AFES publications.