Over the past several years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested millions of dollars into various agricultural projects across Alaska. Perhaps best known nationally for fossil fuel production and wildlife reserves, Alaskan agriculture, although small, is a hearty operation.
One of the more important projects the USDA has invested in is a series of biofuel production plants. While not a major producer of corn, the staple crop for ethanol production, Alaskan farms have embraced biofuels, growing a series of grasses and trees that can potentially be used to create renewable energy systems. The USDA recently invested over $500,000 in a biomass energy system at Alaska Brewing Co.
Another major Alaskan agricultural enterprise involves marine life. Many Alaskans make a living fishing off the state’s coast. More recently, the USDA has invested heavily in oyster farming. OceansAlaska, a maritime fishery, recently opened what was intended to be an aquarium, but quickly transformed into a maritime research facility.
The USDA has lent tens of thousands of dollars to the organization in order to create a public setting where Alaskans can be trained in various oyster-farming techniques and practices. Alaskan officials hope that the investment will help spur a new industry in their state.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer