Utah Department of Agriculture and Food


The UDAF's Egg & Poultry Grading team received 
Governor Herbert's Award of Excellence
at a special ceremony May 6th at the Capitol.  



The Egg & Poultry Grading Program consists of the following members.
Program Supervisor -Cary Wise, Assistant - Adell Young, Grader -Eldon Ekins, Grader -Susie Spackman,
Grader - Stephanie Jacobs, Grader - Belinda Thomason, Grader - Sharisa Vodopich, Grader - Cindy Willden
Grader - Lindsey M. Pearson, Grader - Mark L. Mitchell, Grader - Teneil Chynoweth, Grader - Carlotta Foitzick
Grader- Priscilla Ann Robinson.

Program Supervisor, Cary Wise wrote the following about the team's dedication and committment.

The team consistently demonstrates outstanding contributions to the egg producers and consumers of Utah. Their service is required seven day per week, including holidays.
At 10 :30 PM when I get a text message of an emergency from a grader who can't go to work in the morning, on more than one occasion I have forwarded this text to another grader and the response back has been "where and when".

Overtime I have grown to have a great appreciation for the work model of Howard Hughes . He had a
great team. It was the circle of people he chose to surround himself with that made the difference. He
looked for people, who valued hard work, dedication and who would settle for nothing less than
perfection .

This past year it has been rewarding to have a hard working, dedicated team who settle for nothing less
than perfection, and who are willing to do what is needed, when it is needed.

I am extremely proud of our Egg & Poultry Grading team and honored to be their Supervisor.

USDA Utah Poultry and Egg Facts - 2012

Cash receipts for 2012: $147 million.  Representing 9% of total state Ag. production
Number of egg laying chickens: 3.6 million
Number eggs produced: one billion
The egg industry in Utah produces enough eggs to supply each Utahn with 335 eggs per year.


Other information about the UDAF Egg & Poultry Grading Program
The Egg & Poultry staff are consistently demonstrating outstanding contributions to the egg and
poultry producers and consumers of Utah. This staff of Graders diligently arrive at Utah's egg
and poultry plants in the early morning hours each day to insure that the products purchased by
Utah consumers are ofthe best quality possible.

Gerald Brockman, the Regional Director with USDA, said "Your employee's professionalism,
expertise and dedication are second to none and are something you can be very proud of. Their
hard work and high ethical standards is the cornerstone in securing the integrity ofthe USDA
Grade Shield."

Sherman Miller, Vice President, ChiefOperations Officer and Director of Cal Maine Foods,
said "The commitment and dedication ofthe Egg & Poultry team facilitates the highest quality
product for customers, while adding value to Utah produced products" .

Cliff Lillywhite and Tony Cochran made the following comment about the Egg & Poultry staff
at the Oakdell facility in Lewiston. "They are pleasant, dependable, and very flexible to work
with during production variations that can require seven day a week service. I have never heard
them complain, even if our processing machine breaks down causing us to process late into the

This past year it has been rewarding to have a hard working, dedicated team who settle for
nothing less than perfection, and who are willing to do what is needed, when it is needed.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is proud of the Egg &Poultry Grading team and
is honored to select them as its 2014 Governor's Award for Excellence recipient.






posted: May 7, 2014

National Press Releases and Articles





Visit Farm Flavor to read more about Utah Agriculture



  Current UDAF Press Releases and Articles




                   Governor Herbert Pardons “Tommy Boy” the Thanksgiving Turkey

 WHO:             Governor Gary Herbert; Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food,
                      Leonard Blackham; Thanksgiving Point President & CEO, Mike Washburn; 
                      Norbest President & CEO, Matt Cook; and assorted guests.

 WHAT:          The traditional Thanksgiving seasonal message and turkey pardon by
                     Governor Herbert at Thanksgiving Point.  The event features the
                     impressive 51-pound Tommy Boy the turkey on display.  After offering his
                     Thanksgiving message, the governor walks over to Tommy Boy and
                     makes a few appropriate comments.  Tommy may have a few 
                     comments of his own. Tommy Boy will later be moved to the TGP bird
                     refuge where it will live out its days, sans cranberry sauce.

 WHEN:          11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013

 WHERE:       Thanksgiving Point's Farm Country, 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way in Lehi
                    (Farm Country is located just outside of the red Show Barn)

Contact Larry Lewis UDAF
(801) 538-7104








Utah DWR Learns What Killed Bald Eagles

 No Threat to Livestock During Winter Months

Salt Lake City -- Laboratory results have confirmed what officials with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources have been suspecting: West Nile virus killed the bald eagles that have died in Utah over the past few weeks.

Testing at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan, Utah, and the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, has definitively ruled out many other possible causes of death, including toxic chemicals or poisons, lead poisoning, bacterial infections and several other viruses, including avian influenza and avian vacuolar myelinopathy.


How did the eagles get West Nile virus?

Officials aren’t certain how the eagles got West Nile virus, as the disease typically affects birds (including eagles) during warmer months, when mosquitoes that carry the disease are active.

They think the birds might have contracted the virus after eating infected eared grebes that died recently on Great Salt Lake.

Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), says more than 2 million eared grebes stop at Great Salt Lake during their winter migration.  Almost every year, about one percent of the population that visits the lake dies from a bacterial disease called avian cholera.

“Every time grebes die,” she says, “we send some of the dead birds to a laboratory for testing.  Usually, avian cholera jumps out as the cause of death.  This year, though, the initial laboratory results were not as conclusive.  That led us to believe that something else might have killed the grebes this year.”

Additional testing on the eared grebes, however, have led to findings that are consistent with what’s being found in the bald eagles.

 In the winter, bald eagles obtain most of their food by eating dead animals.  Since all of the eagles that have died have been within flying distance of the lake, McFarlane thinks the eagles might have contracted West Nile virus after eating grebes that died at the lake from the disease.


No human health concerns

JoDee Baker, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, says people do not need to be concerned; dead grebes and dead eagles do not pose a risk to people.

“People become infected with West Nile virus after being bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus,” Baker says.  “Although there are other very rare ways you can get the virus, such as receiving contaminated blood or organs from an infected person, mosquitoes are, by far, the most common method of transmission.  Since the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus aren’t active in the winter, there’s no risk to the public’s health.”

While the eagles don’t pose a risk to public health, both Baker and McFarlane encourage you to not touch or handle sick or dead birds, including eagles.  Instead, call the nearest DWR office.  A wildlife officer or a biologist will be dispatched to get the bird.

Dr. Bruce King, state veterinarian with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, says domestic livestock are safe too.  Because mosquitoes aren’t active in the winter,” he says, “we see no eminent danger to domestic livestock in Utah, including backyard chickens, horses, or other small or large farm operations.”


Grebes will be gone soon

McFarlane says the migration of eared grebes through Utah is almost over for the winter.  “By the second week of January,” she says, “almost all of the grebes will be gone.”

West Nile virus can live for a few days in the carcass of a bird that has just died, however, so there’s still a chance that additional eagles will get sick and die, even after the grebes leave.  But the risk to eagles should decrease quickly.

McFarlane says between 750 and 1,200 bald eagles visit Utah in the winter.  “Even though it’s difficult to watch eagles die,” she says, “the deaths that have and still might occur won’t affect the overall health of the bald eagle population that winters in Utah or the overall population in the United States.”

On the morning of Dec. 31, the number of eagles that had died in Utah stood at 27 birds.  Twenty-one of those birds were found dead in the wild.  Six additional birds died while being treated at rehabilitation centers.

On the morning of Dec. 31, rehabilitation centers were treating five sick eagles.  The sick eagles appear to be responding well to the treatments.





 Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:
 Mark Hadley, Relations with the Public Specialist, 801-538-4737

 Utah Department of Health:
Charla Haley, Risk Communication Specialist, 801-273-4178 (office) or 801-230-5927 (cell )

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food:
Dr. Warren Hess, Assistant State Veterinarian, 801-870-7818