The UAF Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension houses the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
The Cooperative Extension Service was created in 1930 as a department within the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. UAF's public service and community engagement role is filled in part by Extension educators, faculty and staff located in Anchorage, Bethel, Delta Junction, Dillingham, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, Nome, Palmer, Sitka, Soldotna and affiliate offices with the Tanana Chiefs Conference and Eielson Air Force Base. UAF's Extension is part of the largest informal education system in the world, connecting Extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities in every U.S. territory and state. Extension offers hundreds of publications, written and produced by university specialists, which contain practical information of interest to Alaska residents. Extension provides programs and information about agriculture and horticulture, health, nutrition, food preservation and food safety, energy, emergency preparedness, natural resources and youth. The Cooperative Extension Service also administers Alaska FFA, 4-H and the Mining and Petroleum Training Service.
The Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (AFES) includes the Fairbanks Experiment Farm, the Matanuska Experiment Farm & Extension Center and the Delta Junction Field Research Site. The Georgeson Botanical Garden and the Reindeer Research Program are at the Fairbanks farm. 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.
Both units are part of the land-grant mission at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 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. Today, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is the USDA division that manages federal funding of the nation’s experiment stations and the extension service.