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New Wool Laboratory to Add Critical Infrastructure for Utah’s Wool Industry

As expanding agricultural and food processing infrastructure is a priority of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF), we are pleased to learn that Utah will soon be home to the nation’s only commercial wool testing laboratory — Wasatch Wool Laboratories, a new wool testing laboratory based in Midvale, Utah.

Reliable laboratory testing is critical to the success and marketability of local wool production. Adding this infrastructure to Utah will be a boon to Utah’s wool industry, making Utah the nation’s epicenter of wool testing. Since the closing of Colorado’s Yocom-Mcoll Testing Laboratories, wool producers nationwide were required to send samples overseas for commercial testing, primarily to facilities located in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

“One of the Department of Agriculture’s priorities right now is developing agricultural and food processing infrastructure. It’s important for us to support all aspects of infrastructure that assist our producers in preparing their products to be marketed to the public.” — UDAF Commissioner Craig W Buttars. Utah is the fourth largest producer of wool in the nation, shearing 2,140,000 lbs in 2019 alone — about 10% of the nation’s total wool production.

“The Utah Wool Growers Association is excited about the prospect of having supportive infrastructure for the wool industry in Utah. Adding this will allow us to take an environmentally friendly product and make it even more sustainable by reducing the product’s carbon footprint by not having to send it overseas for testing. Each class of wool is excellent for something specific; there are different uses for different products. Wool testing allows you to target your sales to specific audiences, for example coarse wool for outer layers and fine wool for luxury goods.” — Sierra Nelson, Executive Director of the Utah Wool Growers Association.

“One of the things we’re doing is affirming the sheep industry’s presence in Utah. Wool from across the nation will come through this new testing facility. Having a testing lab creates emerging markets for wool to be established in Utah.” — Alberty Wilde, a 6th generation Utah rancher and partner with GRIP6, a local manufacturer, in Wasatch Wool Labs.

To learn more about the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s ongoing economic development initiatives contact Linda Clark Gillmor at [email protected].

For more information about Wasatch Wool Labs, email [email protected] or join their open house Thursday, April 8, at 12:30 pm at 7037 Hightech Dr. Midvale, UT 84047.


UDAF Celebrates National Ag Day – March 23, 2021

Here at UDAF, we take great pride in supporting and giving thanks to the farmers and ranchers that keep our families fed year-round.  Below are just a few members of our UDAF family sharing a bit about the role of the department in serving Utah producers and the spirit of National Ag Day.




UDAF Urges Consumers to Monitor Christmas Trees for Invasive Species and Consider Local Options

As many families bring fresh Christmas trees into their homes this time of year, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) would like to issue a reminder to watch for evidence of invasive species, particularly indicators of the gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle. Though there are a number of fresh tree lots throughout Utah, the majority of those trees are brought in from out of state. Whenever trees, firewood, or greenery are transported, there’s a risk for the transportation of pests. While many insects are beneficial, those on UDAF’s invasive species watch list are not.

Invasive species are known to cause between 50-80% of agriculture crop losses per year and the impact on urban forests can be devastating. “Most people don’t think about pathways for invasive species. They see a beautiful Christmas tree or piece of wood furniture and don’t realize it could be a carrier for an unwelcome insect,” said Kristopher Watson, UDAF Insect Program Manager and State Entomologist. UDAF has published a list of current insect quarantines and other helpful information from the Insect and Pest Program here.

UDAF would like to emphasize the importance of purchasing trees from reputable sources who work with our team of inspectors and comply with regulations and quarantines designed to stop the spread of invasive pests. Managing insects is essential to the Department’s mission to promote the healthy growth of Utah agriculture, conserve our natural resources and protect our food supply. According to Watson, only one gypsy moth has been found in Utah in the last few years, and no pine shoot beetles have been detected, which he credits to public awareness and UDAF’s regulatory responsiveness. “Our method for regulating invasive species is strict enforcement of a robust inspection program,” said Watson. “That means working with vendors to create an environment where everyone wins so we can maintain the social, environmental and economic integrity of our state’s overall agricultural wellness.”

As with many agricultural products and commodities, UDAF reminds consumers to look for local options. Utah State University has a helpful page with Utah-grown Christmas tree farms and vendors along with information on cut-your-own tree permits from land management agencies found here. For those considering cutting and bringing home a wild tree, helpful information from the U.S. Forest Service can be found here.

Harvest Gratitude Day — Giving Thanks and Celebrating the Importance of Agriculture with Utah School Children

Salt Lake City, UT — The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) with our partners in this event, the Utah State Board of Education and Dairy West, are thrilled to celebrate Harvest Gratitude Day with Governor Herbert and kindergarten students from Silver Mesa Elementary in Canyons School District.

Governor’s Harvest Day Declaration

Harvest Gratitude Day is an annual tradition celebrating Utah’s rich agricultural heritage and giving thanks to farmers and ranchers across the state. At this year’s virtual event, we welcomed local producers Bateman Mosida Farm, Rowley’s Red Barn and Cross E. Ranch to share their expertise and background in agriculture while inviting students along on a special tour of each of these beloved family-owned farms. From baby cows to fall-favorite apple cider and more, this celebration invited school children and beyond to learn about the importance of agriculture and the dedication Utah producers invest to produce food for dining tables in Utah, nationwide and abroad.

“As early pioneers that came to this valley, it was a pretty barren landscape — high desert, not really any water to speak of, the Great Salt Lake which you couldn’t really utilize; those pioneers found that by working hard and working together they were able to make the desert blossom like a rose. Their collaboration and cooperation allowed them to do remarkable things that exceeded most people’s wildest expectations. And today, our farmers and ranchers are carrying out that same pioneer legacy by ensuring that we have enough to eat.

 Agriculture is a remarkable industry which provides us with a lot of opportunities and nutritious food for people, which I hope they don’t take for granted, so let’s make sure we have a little bit of thankfulness and gratitude in our hearts for our Utah food producers, our farmers and ranchers, and all those along the food chain that get food to our grocery stores.” Governor Gary R. Herbert, speaking virtually to Silver Mesa Elementary kindergarteners.

We join in Governor Herbert’s sentiments in acknowledging that the importance of the work Utah’s farmers and ranchers contribute can’t be overstated. This year in particular we offer a tremendous amount of gratitude to Utah’s farmers and ranchers for their dedication to providing a safe, secure food supply for families in Utah and beyond.

Watch the full virtual event here.

Local Farmers Markets News

The summer tradition of the farmers market will happen this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner Logan Wilde told FOX 13 in a recent interview that they are an essential part of the state’s food supply. But they are trying to reimagine how they work.
“Farmers markets are grocery stores to our local communities. If those safety structures and safety nets can be put in place, whether it’s social distancing, making sure the food is safe, they’ll still go forth,” he said.
In addition to a source of summer fun, for some they are an essential lifeline to quality produce. Federal food assistance programs utilize the markets, and for some farmers, they’re the sole source of income.

Click here to learn more.