Winter meetings and Spring preparations for farmers and ranchers
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Ag. Day 2015 Was the Picture of Success

Farmers and Ranchers from throughout Utah sent in photos documenting their March 18th activities

To celebrate National Agriculture Day this year, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, LuAnn Adams, put the word out to Utah's farm and ranch communities that she was looking for photos documenting what was happening on the farm specifically on March 18th, National Agriculture Day.
“This year we want to celebrate and document the hard work that our Utah family farms and ranches perform each day,” said Adams. "This Day-In-The-Life of Utah Agriculture project is intended to record the typical activities of farm and ranch life in Utah on this special day of the year."

Read More about the effort, see some of the more than 60 photos sent in to UDAF, and view some of the media coverage of Ag. Day 2015 on the UDAF website.We have also been placing many of the photos on the UDAF Facebook page in a special photo album,
Photo above: Russ Kohler and his son,
Grant, feed calves at their farm in Midway
on March 18, 2015. Photo by Heather Kohler.

Avian Influenza Hits Utah; Backyard Bird Owners Can Take Simple Steps to protect Their Flocks

A strain of avian influenza has been infecting migratory bird and domestic poultry this year in Western Canada and several western US states. While only one case has been confirmed in Utah in a hunted duck in Davis County, the UDAF is urging backyard chicken owners to follow simple steps to keep their birds safe. Watch this short video featuring acting State Veterinarian, Warren Hess.
Special Note to Beekeepers:
Utah beekeepers may use a popular mite control product while an updated formula and new label are being reviewed by EPA. UDAF secured a one year exemption for HopGuard II to be used in Utah. HopGuard II controls mites in honeybee colonies without contaminating the honey. Beekeepers may buy the product directly from the manufacturer through 2015. If the product isn’t formally approved by then, UDAF may ask for another one year exemption.
Utah Bucks National Trend, Interest in Buying Local Food Continues to Increase

Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, Luann Adams, was well received at the urban and small farms conference in February, where she talked about connections and all working together to move agriculture forward. She praised many of the farmers in the audience for being among the 1,800 farms in Utah selling directly to the public. That is up significantly from five years earlier. Interest from the buying public in food from local farms is also increasing, despite national data from USDA that shows a leveling of interest nationally in buying directly from farms and ranches. Here is more on the USDA Local Foods report.

Through the Utah's Own program and other public information efforts, Adams said UDAF is committed to help the upward trend in Utah continue.

In mid-March, the Deseret News wrote about National  Agriculture Day and Utah’s trend toward selling and buying more produce locally. Read the story

Weed Identification Signs Help Recreational Land Uses Stop the Spread of Noxious Weeds

This year will be the fourth year of the Invasive Species Mitigation Fund, which was set up as a grant program by the Utah Legislature. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s, Plant Industry Division manages the fund, providing grants to counties and other local groups on the front lines of fighting Utah’s war on invasive noxious weeds.
Because the grant monies are supposed to maximize on ground treatment of noxious weeds, UDAF is spending some time and money on outreach materials to help local groups educate the public about the spread of weed and what everyone can do to help.
UDAF’s invasive weed program manager, Rich Riding, and Jack Wilbur, public information office, have developed “unwanted posters” to help people identify certain weeds, and help stop their spread. The posters are distributed by local agencies. They are also printed as metal signs and put at trailheads and fee stations where certain weeds reside. The signs urge people to report any weeds they spot. A QR code on the signs allows people to use their smart phones to log onto a website to help with identification. The other code connects people with a site where they can report a patch of weeds they see. That location is mapped, so local weed specialists can go treat or remove the invaders.
In 2014, signs and posters were printed for four different weeds. This year Riding and Wilbur hope to produce signs featuring another 4-6 weeds or more. The effort is a great partnership between the state, local counties and municipalities and the general public.
Community Supported Agriculture Open House Connect Consumers with Farmers

Every year in late February or early March, farmers who offer community supported agriculture (CSA) programs gather in the activity barn at Wheeler Farm for one evening to meet consumers who are interested buying local food and directly supporting local farms. The Utah’s Own program and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food are among the sponsors.
Read the full story
State and Local Officials Brace for Green Invaders

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a new pest that is knocking on Utah’s doorstep and drawing a lot of attention from federal, state and local agencies.
The pest, which has wiped out entire forests of ash trees in other parts of the country, has been detected as far west as Boulder Colorado. UDAF’s State Entomologist, Clint Burfitt, says it is only a matter of time before the pest reaches Utah.
Burfitt, the UDAF Public Information office, and several state, federal and local agencies and organizations have formed an EAB task force to inform the public and mitigate potential damage from the borer.
UDAF, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and other task force partners are currently working with cities throughout Utah to convince them not to plant ash trees in public areas in the future. Additionally, cities are being urged to remove ash from the list of approved and recommended trees for planting in new commercial and residential development.  While this won’t protect existing ash trees, it may reduce the amount of money and effort it will cost cities and private citizens in the future to remove diseased trees.
While EAB is just one of many tree and crops pests that concern UDAF’s Plant Industry division, it has potential to cause widespread destruction of urban forests.
Copyright © 2015 Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, All rights reserved.

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