August 10, 2015

10/08/2015: Utahns want to preserve agriculture, survey says

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Recently released survey results have indicated that a large number of Southwestern Utahns have expressed concern regarding the future of agriculture in the state.

By 2050, it is expected that Utah's population will have doubled in size to around 5,400,000 residents, potentially cutting the per-person production in half.

Participants in Envision Utah's "Your Utah, Your Future" survey were asked to rate their preferences in different scenarios relating to agriculture. Residents of southwestern Utah have rated the improvement of Utah's self-sufficiency as the highest priority. The improvement of rural Utah's economy and the maintenance of open space provided farms and ranches were ranked second and third.

According to the Envision Utah results, Utah's food production has declined. The state is only producing two percent of its vegetables, two percent of its fruit and twenty-five percent of its dairy.

This may be due to loss of water and farmland, which is a result of land development, according to Ari Bruening, chief operating officer at Envision Utah.

"One way to create food self-sufficiency is to increase that land," Bruening said.

"This could also maybe mean moving away from hay and alfalfa in some places and using it for root vegetables."

The survey indicated that 98 percent of participants want to increase self-sufficiency from agriculture. Residents want to do this by using more land for agricultural purposes.

Many Southwestern Utahns are willing to stop building homes and businesses on high-quality agricultural land to make this possible.  

People in Southwestern Utah are even more willing to use less water for their lawns.

"We found what came out on top was water for agriculture food was more important than anything else," Bruening said.

"What people were saying is, I would rather take water from my own yard than take it from agriculture."

Bruening said the results will be utilized by the task force in order to "put together a vision" that can be implemented for Utah's future.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
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