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US (AK): Matanuska Experiment Farm gains new director

Jodie Anderson is the new director of the Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center near Palmer.

Anderson started her new job Aug. 20. She will provide leadership for the academic, research and Cooperative Extension Service outreach programs based at the facility, which is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Anderson has a varied background in agriculture and natural resources. Most recently, she served as program coordinator for the Alaska Division of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program and worked with farmers, nonprofit organizations and others to bring local food to schools and public food service distributors. Anderson has also worked as a soil scientist, researched potato viruses, and taught high school and college biology, and gardening and composting classes. As a doctoral student at UAF, she studied fish waste as an option for composting and soil building.

“I’m sort of a jack-of-all-trades,” she said.

The university’s Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station encompasses experiment farms in Palmer and in Fairbanks. Experiment Station Director Milan Shipka said that he is happy to have someone with strong experience in a variety of areas, who knows the community, the university and the Palmer center.

“She has some very good ideas that will help develop the Matanuska Experiment Farm,” he said.

Anderson said she looks forward to working with the community and hopes to strengthen agricultural and natural resources research by partnering with other agencies.

Anderson grew up in Michigan and North Carolina, but she has lived in Palmer since 2003. In her spare time, she and her husband run a catering business, and she likes to barbecue and grill, fish, hike and do other outdoor activities.

She said she has made it her personal mission to improve Alaska barbecue standards “one pork shoulder at a time.” She was part of a team of four, including her husband and two friends, who won the Alaska Seafood Showdown last week at the Alaska State Fair by grilling steamed clams, cod and marinated shrimp in Asia-inspired recipes using Alaska-grown vegetables.

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