Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44DELTA JUNCTION GUIDE 21 Agriculture in the Delta area be- gan during the Gold Rush period to fulfill a need of food for workmen and hay for horses and other livestock. No other significant agricultural de- velopment occurred in the area until the 1950s when several homesteads were es- tablished in the Clearwater area. Through the perseverance of these hard-working people the viability of agriculture in the Delta-Clearwater region was proven. In the early 1970s a large-scale com- mercial farming venture was established. Though beset by a multitude of problems including limited or nonexistent markets for production difficulties in obtaining needed production supplies and the ever- present wildlife depredationsthis farm did demonstrate the potential for local grain and forage production. It was partial- ly due to these efforts that Delta-Clearwa- ter was chosen as the location for Alaskas first large-scale agricultural project. The original 60000-acre demonstration project started in August of 1978. Twenty- two parcels averaging slightly more than 2700 acres in size were sold by lottery. An additional land release of 15 parcels total- ing 25000 acres took place in early 1982. Success of the Delta Agricultural Proj- ects has been highly variable. The develop- ment of more than 80000 acres of agricul- tural land is an accomplishment in itself. Farmers have adjusted their production techniques to make the most of Mother Na- tures short season by raising cereal grains such as barley and oats grasses for forage and seed certain hardy annual legumes potatoes vegetables and livestock. Bison elk European boar and reindeer ranching are currently under serious consideration. The 1980s were plagued with periods of readjustment for national and interna- tional agricultural businesses. Declining oil prices have lowered the purchasing power of many nations and significantly reduced markets for American products. Many for- mer foreign customers have successfully established production programs utilizing American technology and now compete for the limited markets. Although severely impacted by the cur- rent international agricultural situation Delta area farmers continue to plan for the future expansion of the industry. Opportunities in the production of fin- ished beef dairy beef and swine are strong possibilities. Our local dairy processor could expand the available markets if more milk was available. Processing facilities could open new markets for local vegetable and berry production. Various types of game ranching may also have an economic future in Alaskas agriculture. Opportuni- ties do exist for Delta farmers. One might wonder how much agricul- tural production can be utilized in Alaskas effort to become self-sufficient. If Alaska were to produce 100 percent of the beef pork and milk currently consumed in the state it would require full production on more than 600000 acres. We have ample opportunity for expansion. Content courtesy of www.alaska-highway. org amber waves of grain smaller farms Along with two large agricultural projects the Delta area also has many small farms. In several different land sales over 100 parcels were sold in the Tanana Loop and Delta-Clearwater areas. These farms ranged from 20 to 320 acres in size. The infrastructure created to service the larger farms also serves these new farms and several older farms which were homesteaded during the 50s and 60s. Smaller farms contribute to the general economy and are recognized as an important part of the agricultural picture. farming