Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Matanuska Farm celebrates Alaska Ag Day Aug. 6

The Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer will host Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day Aug. 6 with family activities, live animals, tours and music.

The free annual event, from noon to 5 p.m., will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the site selection for the research experiment station.

Kids participate in the 2014 Alaska Agriculture Appreciation Day.
Edwin Remsberg photo
Associate Professor Norm Harris, who is based at the farm, has provided a historical note on the anniversary. He said the 1915 report of the Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station said, “Mr. M.D. Snodgrass, the assistant in charge of the Kodiak Experiment Station, was detailed to make an agricultural reconnaissance of the Matanuska Valley to select a site for an agricultural experiment station in the valley.” The report notes that Snodgrass located a tract of 240 acres for a station site, about 140 acres of which could be cultivated.

Snodgrass was in charge of the Matanuska Experiment Station from 1921 to 1929, became a colonization agent for the railroad and later farmed in the area. He also served in the territorial legislature and on the university's board of regents, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Alaska in 1961.
Milton Snodgrass stands among the sunflowers at the Fairbanks Experiment Station.
SNRE archives

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss will provide opening remarks at this year’s Agriculture Appreciation Day.

The day has the atmosphere of a country fair with educational presentations and a number of kids’ and family activities. Presentations will be provided on soils testing, high tunnels and interactive trail maps. The Cooperative Extension Service will offer cooking classes on millet, beets, kale and rhubarb.

Demonstrations will feature spinning and weaving wool and goat milking. Kids’ activities will include vegetable bobbing, a kids’ veggie harvest, hay wagon rides and a dunk tank featuring Deena Paramo, the superintendent of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Vendors will showcase a variety of food and non-food products. Music from 4 to 7 p.m. will feature a steel drum ensemble, country music by Ken Peltier and a jam session.

The farm, at 1509 S. Georgeson Road, provides research facilities, classroom space and offices for University of Alaska Fairbanks research and Extension. Call Theresa Isaac at 907-746-9450 for more information.

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