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True North: Bringing Scientific Insights to Farming in Alaska

When they think about farming, many people picture endless rows of corn and wheat spilling across the middle of the country. But the truth is that agriculture is everywhere in the U.S. — from sea to shining sea, and in Hawaii and Alaska. In fact, Alaska is poised to see even more farming as climate change leads to warmer conditions and a longer growing season.

ARS researchers are hard at work figuring out how to develop farming in Alaska in the most sustainable way possible. Together with colleagues from the University of Alaska, they are testing a wide variety of possible crops and practices to see what works well now — and what might work well in the future. Perhaps most importantly, they are focused on working closely with residents of Alaska, letting them decide which research questions are important to pursue. Together, the team is working on projects like selective breeding of crops for the longer season, and testing out new crops that haven’t grown in Alaska before but might do well there — all while ensuring soil health through sustainable choices and practices. Learn more about the research.