Agroborealis is the research publication of the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the School of Natural Resources and Extension. It describes research in the areas of agriculture, soils, forest sciences, natural resources, and economic and community resilience. The research magazine, which was founded in 1969, is available now in a new format. Easily downloadable research stories — at least two Agroborealis research highlights twice a year — will be published spring and fall.
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The village of Savoonga owns a herd of more than 3,000 reindeer, and a decreasing supply of walrus and other marine mammals has the St. Lawrence Island community thinking more about its reindeer as a source of food and employment.
Joshua Greenberg, a University of Alaska Fairbanks natural resource economist, teamed up with the university’s Reindeer Research Program to develop a series of business plans that will allow Savoonga and possibly other villages to evaluate different production strategies for a reindeer meat industry.
The Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has looked at the best combinations of feed and forage, range management and how the reindeer diet and slaughter methods affect the quality of meat.
Program manager Greg Finstad said that reindeer research over the past 35 years has focused on helping develop a local red meat industry.
“It’s producer-driven research,” he said.
Finstad believes that reindeer production could help address Alaska’s food insecurity and provide an economic boost to tribal entities that sell the meat.