U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management. The USDA ensures that there is a safe and ample food supply and rural prosperity.

USDA science supports monitoring efforts in Alaska. Beginning in 1995, soil climate monitoring stations were established on the North Slope of Alaska. Data from these stations are recorded every hour. These stations assess seasonal thaw characteristics and active-layer depths of permafrost soils and snowpack. Data from the Soil Climate Analysis Network (SCAN) and Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) stations in Alaska can be accessed and downloaded. The U.S. Forest Service accesses the fire regime in the Alaskan tundra. Research with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (USDA APHIS) has looked at how Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, may serve as sentinels for pathogens and contaminants, providing insight into changing Arctic ecosystems and health risks to wildlife and humans.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports work in the region through Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) which funds extension programs on American Indian reservations and tribal jurisdictions and the Tribal Colleges Research Grants Program (TCRGP) which supports building institutional research capacity through projects that address student educational needs and meet community, reservation, or regional challenges. The USDA also supports the Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Competitive Grants Program to promote and strengthen the ability of Alaska Native-Serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions to carry out education, applied research, and related community development programs.

USDA research in the Arctic includes contributions from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the Forest Service (USDA-FS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development (RD). Together the many USDA research and programmatic entities help ensure sustained food security for the nation and the world. They maintain and enhance the health of U.S. forests, rangelands, and natural resources while identifying ways to manage the risks and vulnerabilities ranging from temperature and precipitation extremes to the changing biology of pests, invasive species, increased wildfire intensity and extent, and diseases.

Where would one go to find out what research is being funded by your agency in the Arctic?

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Where would one go to read about scientific research results from your agency?

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Does your agency have office(s) in Alaska?


  • Louie Tupas
  • Deputy Chief
  • Soil Science & Resource Assessment
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • luis.tupas@usda.gov

Mike Strobel
National Weather and Climate Center
USDA National Resource Conservation Service

External Links

IARPC Collaborations Links