Salt Lake City – The Utah Senate confirmed Box Elder County rancher and former county commissioner, LuAnn Adams, as the Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food. Governor Gary R. Herbert selected Adams for the position in December following the retirement of Leonard Blackham.
“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to be Utah’s next Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, said Commissioner Adams. “I will continue to emphasize our programs that help Utah farmers and ranchers stay in the business of growing our food,” she added.
As commissioner, Adams will oversee a state agency comprised of nearly 200 employees who manage dozens of programs that regulate the agriculture industry, and protect food safety and fair commerce.
Adams’ priority programs include: The War on Weeds, whose goal is to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire and increase farm and ranching productivity; the UDAF’s ACES (Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship) program that recognizes farmers for their stewardship practices; the Utah’s Own program that helps consumers buy locally-grown foods as a means to stimulate the agriculture economy; and the Grazing Improvement Program (GIP) that helps maintain healthy rangelands and grazing practices. Commissioner Adams is also dedicated to maintaining a critical regulatory presence for food safety and consumer protection responsibilities.
Opinion Poll Results
Commissioner Adams also released results of a recent public opinion poll that shows Wasatch Front residents strongly support Utah farmers and ranchers.
95% percent say farming and ranching is important to the future of Utah.
84% believe farmers and ranchers are good stewards of the land.
79% agree that livestock grazing on public land is acceptable.
Several other questions in the survey asked respondents about the importance of various factors when shopping for food.
97% believe freshness is important or very important
85% said nutritional value is important or very important
53% indicated that locally grown is an important or very important consideration
20% feel organically grown is important or very important.
Respondents also strongly supported (69%) efforts to protect farmland. (full results at: ag.utah.gov)
Agriculture’s Impacts on Utah’s Economy
According to a study from Utah State University in 2011, Utah agriculture remains an important economic engine to the State of Utah. The agricultural processing and production sectors together account for $17.5 billion in total economic output in Utah, after adjusting for multiplier effects. The two agriculture sectors also account for about 78,000 jobs and income of approximately $2.7 billion, and 14.1 percent of total state output, which represents a 1.4 percent growth rate since 2008.