The Musk Ox Development Corporation (MODC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to the domestication of the musk ox and to the promotion of qiviut production as a gentle and sustainable agricultural practice in the Far North, with a focus on public education and providing income opportunities to Alaskans.
Agriculture must be in harmony with its environment. Our founder John Jerome Teal Jr. was guided by a belief that the domesticated animals and plants of each of the world’s major biogeographical zones should be selected from among the indigenous species of those areas. He saw in the musk ox an animal able to “convert northern grasses into ready employment and cash income” through the utilization of industry that would ultimately benefit both threatened cultures and a threatened species. This ecological philosophy, combined with concern for the peoples of the Arctic’s tundra and coastal villages, gave rise to the project to domesticate the musk ox, an animal indigenous to these same regions.
In 1954, John J. Teal Jr. put theories to the test regarding possible domestication of musk oxen by bringing the first animals to his farm in Huntington Center, Vermont from the Thelon Game Sanctuary in northern Canada. He wanted to answer the question of whether or not musk oxen could survive and successfully breed in captivity, and respond to taming and become accustomed to handling by humans.
In 1964, Mr. Teal collected musk oxen from Nunivak Island, Alaska to launch the project in Fairbanks, Alaska. Most of the animals here on the farm today can trace some of their lineage back to those original animals.
In 1984, two years after John J. Teal Jr.’s passing, the 501(c)(3) non-profit Musk Ox Development Corporation (MODC) was created. MODC is responsible for all animal husbandry, care, feeding and harvesting of qiviut. The farm continues to work towards John Teal’s mission of musk ox domestication, promotion of qiviut production as a sustainable agricultural practice, and educating the public about these wonderful beasts.
In 1986, the project was moved onto the current property in Palmer, Alaska. Today, the 75-acre farm is home to our herd of 81 musk oxen and Education Center housing a gift shop, museum, and classroom space. Farm tours are available during the summer season (Mother's Day - September 30) 7 days/week, 10-6 & during the winter season (October 1 - Mother's Day) Wed-Sat at 12:30 & 2pm. Come and visit us!