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Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project

The first allotment of the Nenena-Totchaket Agricultural Project lands, Auction #494, will be available for sealed bids on June 1, 2022 at 10:00 Am, and will end October 4, 2022 at 4:30 pm. Opening of sealed bids for Auction #494 will be October 19,2022 at 10:00 am For information:
Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project 2022 Land Sale Brochure (Auction #494)


   

Project Mission

The Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project brings to Alaska the hope of additional food security from its own soil. This project is unique, as it will be planned using science to optimize sustainable production of food, fiber, and fuel, while keeping Alaska's land and water healthy and our soils productive. The project will continue to grow for generations and become a vital key to our agricultural industry and the state's economy.

Mike Dunleavy, Governor of Alaska

Greetings fellow Alaskans, Americans, & farmers of the world. Alaska is a land of abundant natural resources and with those resources, a land with great opportunities. Alaska has set the bar for sustainable resource management with the responsible development of our unmatched fish and timber industries. Alaska is positioned as a "crossroad" in the global transportation system, with international air and seaports. This unique position increases our value to the United States and the rest of the world as a major hub for world commerce.

We invite you to learn more about another of our renewable resource industries, agriculture; and the State's plan to develop 100,000 plus acres of agricultural land. While climate change is impacting this state (and the world) in challenging ways, it has also created longer growing seasons and warmer days here in Alaska. With our clean air, water, and soil in "the land of the midnight sun", Alaska's long-term future as an agricultural producer has never looked brighter.

The Nenana-Totchaket area was planned as a farming project decades ago, but access to the area limited the agricultural development to gain traction. A new bridge recently constructed over the Nenana River was the key to unlocking the development of millions of acres of land owned by the State, Alaska Native Corporations, and the University of Alaska.

The Nenana-Totchaket Agriculture Project will be designed around the concepts of economic viability and environmental stewardship. It is being developed with input from our stakeholders in federal, tribal, state, local and private citizen groups. It is important to the development of new farms and farmers which will bolster Alaska's future food security and the State's economy. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is committed to continue to support this project with ongoing development of infrastructure, research and support from the Division of Agriculture and our agency partners.

David W. Schade, Director of Division of Agriculture

Governor Mike Dunleavy proposed $5 million to move the project forward, and the Alaska Legislature funded the first phase in the FY22 budget. "The Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project brings to Alaska the hope of additional food security from its own soil," said Alaska's Governor Mike Dunleavy. "This project is unique, as it will be planned using science to optimize sustainable production of food, fiber, and fuel, while keeping Alaska's land and water healthy and our soils productive. The project will continue to grow for generations and become a vital key to our agricultural industry and the state's economy."

With access barriers removed combined with increased interest in the Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project development, the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture, engaged in the planning process utilizing cutting edge remote sensing technologies such as lidar, photography and other tools for landscape analysis. To gain a better understanding of the soils in the project area, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been contracted to do detailed soil surveys. Utilizing historical data with this new information will be applied to develop a solid, economically viable 30-year development plan for the Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project area.

"The Nenana-Totchaket Agriculture Project will be designed around the concepts of economic viability and environmental stewardship," said Director David W. Schade. "It is being developed with input from our stakeholders in federal, tribal, state, local and private citizen groups. It is important to the development of new farms and farmers which will bolster Alaska's future food security and the State's economy. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is committed to continue to support this project with ongoing development of infrastructure, research and support from the Division of Agriculture and our agency partners." As the project progresses, further imagery, soil, and remote sensing weather data will be collected and incorporated into the design. This web page showcases development of the first major agricultural project in America this millennium. The Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project will synergize the latest agricultural technologies with time-tested sustainable production practices for responsible agricultural land development. Feel free to check out our updates as they become available.

Timeline

July 2020
  • Bridge open to public use
August 2020
  • Imagery data collected
December 2020
  • LiDAR and Imagery data delivered to DNR
June 2021
  • Final Finding and Decision for Land Offering
July 2021 (thru July 2022)
  • NRCS soil survey of Phase 1 of about 33,000 acres
November 2021 (thru January 2022)
  • Land Survey Contract Phase 1A
March 2022
April 2022
May 2022 (thru July 2022)
  • LiDAR / Picture validation of vegetation
  • Weather Station Installation
  • Invasive Species Studies
June 2022 (thru Sept. 2022)
September 2022
  • Global Design / Phase Plan Developed
  • Determination of wildlife areas / corridors
October 2022
  • Sealed Bid for Auction #494 closes October 4, 20222 at 4:30 pm
  • Opening of sealed bids for Auction #494 October 19, 2022 at 10:00 am

History

History

The Nenana-Totchaket (NenTot) region has been identified for agricultural development since the late 1970's. The Alaska Agricultural Action Council (AAAC) in 1982 reported "Nenana-Totchaket will play a particularly important role in the future of Alaskan agriculture" noting its access to the Parks Highway & Alaska Railroad; lower elevation than Delta; and not conflicting with other resource development.

The Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources approved the Yukon Tanana Area Plan in 2014. This plan places 148,502 acres in the Kantishna Region, unit K-32, and Classifies/Designates them for Agricultural development.

A series of events and collaborative work with the City of Nenana and Nenana Native association has provided infrastructure that has propelled the development and made possible the phase 1a land offerings for 2022. The City of Nenana acquired an easement across the NenTot project and worked with oil exploration companies to leave infrastructure in-place, this includes 11 miles of gravel road & 3 bridges. The Nenana Native Association received a Federal grant in 2018 and completed a bridge across the Nenana River allowing access to the project area. It is this collaborative effort between different agencies that has made this possible.

Bridge construction was completed in spring 2020, and road access to the NenTot project area was open in July 2020. Following this, public hearings and area development plans were developed with the use of LiDAR, Imagery, & Infrared data collected in 2020. A corporative agreement with USDA-NRCS was established to collect soil and ecological site information for the initial planned development areas. Soil data collection began in 2020 and continued through the summer of 2021. This data is anticipated to be available for review in the spring of 2022 to support landowners in developing their State Farm Conservation plans. Survey of the phase 1a township was completed in 2021 and brushing of the lot lines will be completed early winter 2022. Land appraisals are anticipated to be completed and land sales for phase 1a will follow when these are complete.

The Division of Agriculture in cooperation with the City of Nenana is planning another Agricultural Education Day near the Totchaket Bridge crossing the Nenana River in June 2022. This will be an open house event to showcase the Phase 1a parcels and provide educational and outreach opportunities for our partners to share their agricultural knowledge and research with the public.

Climate

Summary

People tend to think of Alaska as snowy and cold, yet much of the state, especially the interior, has a continental climate with long, cold winters but warm and relatively dry summers. If you fly over interior Alaska in the summer, you will see a vast green landscape of forests, meadows, muskegs, and rivers. The lush appearance is deceiving because the region gets very little precipitation. Slow, sustained melting of snow in spring and thawing of the "active layer" immediately below the vegetation mat that refreezes each winter provide water for greening, but the soils can become dry with a week or two of warm weather. Recent climate trends for interior Alaska indicate an increase in frost free growing days and an increase in precipitation.

A general summary of predicted climate changes for the two delineated landscapes includes the following:

  • Temperatures will increase, with winter temperatures increasing at a higher rate than summer temperatures,
  • Length of growing seasons and frost free days will increase,
  • Temperatures in seasonal transition months in many locations will shift from below freezing to above freezing,
  • Precipitation will increase,
  • More precipitation will fall as rain rather than snow,
  • Evapotranspiration rates will increase,
  • Storm intensities will increase.

Temperature

Nenana Totchaket climate data show warming trends gathered from data from 1980 to present. Models predict this trend will continue over the next several decades.

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Growing Season

Data supports that the growing season has gradually increased from an average of 90 days to 110 days from 1980 to 2019. Predictions are based on cumulative days above 32 degrees as defining the growing season.

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Soils

Intro

During the initial planning process of the Nenana Totchaket Agricultural Project, the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture, began an effort to collect landscape level data that will help in planning out the Agricultural subdivisions as well as provide valuable information to the future farmers for planning agricultural operations for production. To gain a better understanding of the soils for agricultural uses, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was contracted to do detailed soil surveys in the project area during the summer of 2021. This information will add to the soils information already available from prior soil surveys, and historical data collected in the area, but provide a higher resolution as the current soil survey work is being performed specifically in the project area. In this section you will find links to prior NRCS soil surveys, NRCS Web Soil Survey App, and current information as it is developed.

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service - Web Soil Survey App

NRCS Nenana-Totchaket Soil Survey

Soils Classification

Soils in the Nenana-Totchaket (NenTot) are largely Class 4 with some Class 5-8 present. Soil sampling and analysis is currently underway by NRCS and the soils are primarily an acidic sandy loam characteristic of Alaskan boreal forests dominated by black spruce.

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Soil Classification Overview PDF
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Future PLans

Development of the Nenana Totchaket Agriculture Project will be completed in phases. Roughly 33,000 acres were approved for the first phase of offerings. DNR has partnered with the NRCS for a detailed soil and ecological site study of the Phase 1 area. Additional studies will be made as the project grows. LiDAR and imagery were collected for the whole project area in July 2020. As development progresses new imagery will be analyzed to determine environmental changes. Knowledge gained from new data will guide future development. Plans will be flexible to accommodate changes in market demands, economic realities, and climate change.

Development decisions have been & will continue to be made following AS 38.05.035(e) & AS 38.05.045. Public Notice will be made as per AS 38.05.945. Public involvement and public comments are an important part of the decision process. Sign up for email notifications of all Decisions, Public Notices, & Auction Brochures at Subscribe for Email Updates - Alaska Division of Mining, Land and Water

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