Thursday February 21st, 2013
Utah Ag. Contributes 14.1% to state economy
Utah agriculture production and processing combined account for 14.1 percent of Utah's economy. Statistics were released at a recent joint UDAF, USU news conference. Click on the link to read the report, compiled by faculty and staff of Utah State University Department of Applied
Ranchers Fight Wildfires with Managed Grazing
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's Grazing Improvement Program has been helping ranchers and land managers for years to replace highly flammable invasive weeds with native vegetation, partly to help control the spread of wildfires. Now there is evidence it is working.
In the photo below of rangeland in Beaver County, the burned area on the left side of the fence had been been grazed before fire swept through the area. The fire got to the fence line and stopped, because the area to the right of the fence had been garzed earlier that year as part of a controlled grazing effort. The unburned are will naturally regrow and be healthy later this year when livestock are turned into that area again for a short time. The area that was burned will have to be reseeded.
Applications available for grants to fight invasive weeds
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is now accepting applications for the Invasive Species Mitigation Weed Control Grant for the 2013-2014 season.
The program is making $1 million in grants available to support projects designed to control or eliminate the growth of noxious weeds in Utah. The grants are intended to fund rehabilitation projects in areas affected by invasive species.
"Invasive, non-native weeds are similar to a slow-burning biological wildfire that is spreading out of control through areas of Utah," said Plant Industry Director, Robert Hougaard. "This grant program is intended to focus our resources and efforts in some of the more seriously threatened areas of the State," Hougaard added.
Organizations that are encouraged to apply include: Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA's), county weed boards, federal, state, tribal, private landowner, conservation districts, and/or other political subdivisions. The grant application deadline is March 1, 2013. Funding for projects will begin July 1, 2013 and terminate June 30, 2014.
Utah Fourth Grade Student Wins Cabbage Growing Contest
A Payson elementary school fourth-grader is this year's winner of the Bonnie Plants cabbage growing contest. The student's cabbage weighed 50.5 pounds. As of January 7, 2013 this was the largest cabbage reported to Bonnie Plants in the company's nation-wide competition.
Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, Leonard Blackham (left) helped present the student with a $1,000 education scholarship offered by Bonnie Plants. Also presenting the award are: Bonnie Plant's Utah representative Chris Terrell, and the student's parents.
Commissioner Blackham congratulated this year's winner and encouraged her and the hundreds of classmates present at the ceremony to continue planting and raising vegetables as a way to understand Utah agriculture.
Spring Lake Elementary School is one of hundreds of Utah schools participating in the nation-wide competition. This past growing season, about 11,000 Utah third grade students received cabbage plants to take home.
"Each year we present this award across the state and see how receptive the children, teachers, parents and grandparents are and realize that gardening not only makes plants grow but positively affects relationships within the family," said Lisa Terrell, Bonnie Plants of Utah. "This is what it is all about, is it not?" She added.
According to Bonnie Plants, this past year more than 1.5 million third graders in 48 states took part in hands-on gardening experience growing colossal and "mega" cabbages with high hopes of winning the $1000 dollars.
Pictured above right: the 2012 Utah state winner and her 50.5 pound cabbage.
Wow!! That's a lot of Sauerkraut.
SB 120 is Common sense Fire Prevention
Senator Margaret Dayton explains in her blog why she believes that SB 120 and SB 62 are necessary to prevent a repeat of the devestating and expensive wildfire season of 2012. Read More >>
UDAF Tracks Several Bills at the Utah Legislature
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is currently tracking a number of bills being proposed during the 2013 Utah State legislative session, which runs through March 14, 2013. A few of the bills are listed below :
Senate Bill 0057--Agriculture Environmental Steward Amendments, which creates the Utah Environmental Stewardship Certification Program and establishes administration stamdards and procedures;
Senate Bill 0032--Environmental Health Scientist Act Sunset Reauthorization, which reauthorizes the Environmental Health Scientist Act in the Legislative Oversight and Sunset Act;
House Bill 0073--Water Easement Amendments, establishes a procedure for the holder of a prescriptive easement for a water conveyance to abandon all or part of that prescriptive easement.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 003-- Threatened Species Damage and Management Plan, expresses support for Iron County's management of the Utah Prarie Dog population and achieving its recovery, while also facilitating rightful use by property owners...
Senate Bill 0109--Change Application Procedure, requires that a person who applies for a permanent or temporary change to a water right meet certain qualifications...
The full text of these and all legislation being considered this session can be accessed through the Legislature hompage link below.
International UN Workers Visit UDAF, Local Farm Greenhouse
In early February, two visitors from the United Nations Agencies in Rome visited Utah to learn about local agriculture and water issues. During their three days in Salt Lake City, they met with a representative of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food and a representative of the CSA Utah program to discuss food security and direct marketing of farm products through Community Supported Agriculture, farmers markets and to restaurants.
Enrico Bonaiuti, Agriculture and Water Expert, Italy, who works mostly in the Middle East, and Tonje Lie, of Norway, who serves as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Organizations in Rome, also toured the greenhouse of a local farm in Salt Lake and Davis counties, Mololo Gardens.
Community Supported Agriculture Open Houses Coming Soon
The following Tuesday, March 5th, there will be another open house in Salt Lake County. The second open house will be held from 6-8 pm at Wheeler Farm in the activity barn, 6351 South 900 East, in Murray.
Each event is a free opportunity to meet some of the farmers who offered Community Supported Agriculture programs.