Fairbanks Experiment Farm

104 – 119 West Tanana Drive

Fairbanks Experiment Farm

UAF photo by JR Ancheta

In 1906, the federal government created the Fairbanks Experiment Farm as part of a network of agricultural experiment stations across Alaska. The Fairbanks location later was chosen by Congress to serve as Alaska’s first university, the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, which opened in 1922.

In 1931, ownership of the farm was transferred from the federal government to UAF’s predecessor institution, the agricultural and mining school. Today, the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station is administered by UAF and includes the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center, and the Delta Junction  field research site.

The Fairbanks Experiment Farm today has 260 acres of cropland and 50 acres of forestland. The complex, on West Tanana Drive, includes facilities typical to a working farm, including a barn, maintenance shop, feed mill, forage dryer, hay storage, loafing shed, old barn silo and machine shed. The experiment farm manager’s residence sits among horticulture and agronomy buildings, a fertilizer storage shed and the visitor’s center. Three wood-fired pottery kilns built for the art department’s use are also housed in a shed on the farm grounds.

The UAF site conducts research and studies on plants and animals to benefit local, state and national interests. The station develops strains of short grains, perennial plants, trees and shrubs that thrive in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. The farm's research herd of reindeer was dispersed after 22 years in fall 2019, with two animals going to UAF's Large Animal Research Station off Yankovich Road and 35 to the Stevens Village tribal government's farm in Delta Junction.  The Fairbanks Experiment Farm in the past has been home to pigs, cattle and other animals.

Aurora magazine: Biofuels: Alaska's new power plants?