Utah County’s agricultural heritage
County’sof peachesus have and historyeaten apples plays the and thata deliciousvital heritage.come role from cherries,in Many Utah the shrinkingCounty. There number are of a orchardsnumber of in fruitsUtah and areas vegetableswhere the that micro-can climateonly be grownis favor- in able and many of these areas are found in Utah County. Utah County has higher agricultural cash receipts than any oth- er county in the state, but that number is declining. Additionally, Utah County is number one for total berry sales in the state of Utah. It is also the number one county in acreage for tart cherries, ap- ples, sweet cherries, pears, peaches and raspberries in the state. I have said it in the past, and I will say it again: we cannot conduct business as usual with a state population that is pro- jected to double by 2050. Utah County’s population is predicted to double by 2040, a full 10 years ahead of the state. Utah is losing its agricultural land at an alarming rate. In 1987, Utah had 14,000 fruit acres in production; by 2006, there were only 6,600 acres, and those numbers are dropping every year. The pressure on farmers and ranchers to sell prime land to developers continues to grow. As Utah County continues to grow, it will be more difficult to provide a source of local foods that is sufficient to feed even a fraction of the county’s rapidly growing population, let alone the state as a whole. We need to work together to ensure that the rich heri- tage of Utah County’s agriculture does not become just a history. riculture statisticallysionfelt The that Utah public farmingand 2014 significant.self- demandstudy,and sufficiency ranching3/ forIn 4 of a preservingrecentas respondentsare a state“Envi- criti- ag- is cal” from 2007.cent criticalally, 98to moretheIn to the percenta 53 the short Utahnsfuture percentfutureof seven-of Utahns believeof the that yearthe state. wantfelt state.that period, stronglyto farmingThat Addition- increase21 is per- upinis food putting changingUtahns self- feel more sufficiencycrops that land preservingto into fruits from productionand and agriculture vegetables. expandingand/ by or agriculturelife Planning,in our state.is conservationimportant to initiativesthe quality and of governmentpact in preserving intervention agriculture.have a smallThe bestim- way County creasedto trulyis profitsto preservemake createit more agriculturestability profitable.in in the UtahIn- industry, workforce entice and new protect generationsa precious to resource.join the and The Food Utahis working Department with of leaders Agriculturein agriculture,ment and civic- local, minded county nonprofitand state groups govern- to address the preservation of agriculture in Utah County. The committee cares about the future of agriculture in Utah County and the state of Utah as a whole. We are creating a toolbox of strategies and ideas that can be implemented to help farm- ers, lawmakers and other concerned resi- dents make meaningful, positive changes to benefit the future of agriculture in the county and state. Many of the strategies we are discuss- ing have been used with great success in other parts of the country. The strategies will help make agriculture more econom- ically viable. They will help lawmakers and other decision makers to keep existing agricultural lands and water in the county and will encourage better land use pat- terns that support agriculture and farmers. This is all done in a way that preserves the unique heritage and history of agriculture in the county. I urge you, the residents of Utah Coun- ty, to show your support of local agricul- ture. Go to your local farmers market and support local agricultural and food busi- nesses. Local businesses are owned by the people who live and love Utah County – they are your neighbors, friends and fami- ly. Ensure a better future for them and for your county by investing in local products and businesses and by voicing your sup- port to your elected officials. We cannot and will not allow the precious agricul- tural heritage of Utah County to become history.