Not many people think of Alaska when it comes to farming. There are four principal farming areas in Alaska: the Tanana Valley, the area near Homer on Kenai Peninsula, parts of Kodiak Island, and the Matanuska Valley.
Eleven million dollars from Federal Emergency Relief Administration was spent to create the town of Palmer and relocate 203 families from the hard hit Iron Range region of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Families traveled by train and ship to Palmer, arriving in May 1935. Upon their arrival they were housed in a tent city during their first Alaskan summer. Each family drew lots for 40-acre tracts and their farming adventure began. The failure rate was high, but many of their descendants still live in the area and there are still many operating farms in the Palmer area.
The chief types of farming in the valley are dairying, general farming, truck farming, and poultry raising. Most of the farmers sell their products through their cooperative, which operates a creamery and dairy in Palmer.
The Mat-Su Valley, and Palmer in particular, are known as the farming center for the state of Alaska. Growing conditions here are ideal. Vegetables adapted to cool temperatures thrive, the glacial soils provide organic matter to keep nutrients in the root zone, many insect pests, diseases, and weeds that are common in the lower 48 are not common in Alaska, and there is plenty of sunlight in the summer to help plants grow.
So, when you think of farming, think of Alaska.