Monday, October 31, 2016

Longer, warmer summers creating new farming opportunities in arctic areas such as Alaska

In Bethel, Alaska, rising temperatures have made it possible
to grow cabbage outside (KYUK photo by Daysha Eaton)
Longer, warmer summers are opening up new agricultural prospects in arctic areas, Hannah Hoag reports for News Deeply, part of a series of online news sites launched by former ABC News and Bloomberg Television Middle East correspondent Lara Setrakian that focus on the arctic, Syria, the California drought and refugees.

"In the arctic, where temperatures are rising at twice the rate of the rest of the world, warmer weather is allowing chefs, farmers and enterprising agricultural researchers to grow vegetables, grains, herbs and other plants that have typically been planted in more temperate fields," Hoag reports.

Milan Shipka, director of the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the state's number of frost-free days has almost doubled since the 1900s, Hoag writes. Shipka told Hoag, “The ability to work the ground occurred at least two weeks earlier than what anyone would have expected.”

That's opening up new farming possibilities for the state's 750 farms that in 2014 contributed more than $48 million to the economy, Hoag writes. Torfi J√≥hannesson, president of the Circumpolar Agricultural Association, which earlier this month held a conference in Iceland on arctic agriculture, told Hoag, "Agriculture will be possible in many places where it is not now.” (Read more)

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