Utah County’s agri­cul­tural her­itage

Serve Daily - - EMPOWERING LIBERTY - By LuAnn Adams Utah Com­mis­sioner of Agriculture and Food

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.

LuAnn AdamsDona­tions

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