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Happy National Agriculture Day!

National Ag Day was created in 1973 to increase public awareness and understanding of the role of agriculture in our everyday lives. Each year on March 19, we celebrate the importance of agriculture and help people develop a greater appreciation and connection to our local farmers and ranchers.

National Ag Day is all about raising awareness of agriculture‘s vital role in our society. The goal of National Ag Day is simple – we believe every citizen should:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

From all of us at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to you, happy National Ag Day!!


Watch our new 2024 Ag Day video here:

UDAF Seeking Specialty Crop Block Grant Proposals

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking grant proposals for the 2024 Specialty Crop Block Grant. A total of $342,390 will be awarded through a competitive grant process. Each proposal may request up to $70,000.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a competitive grant program operated by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to administer federal funds from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Since 2020, UDAF has awarded over $1.8 million in SCBG funds. This grant is open to producers, private businesses, schools, trade associations, non-profits, farming and ranching co-ops, etc. headquartered in Utah. This funding is available for projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of Utah-grown specialty crops which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and horticulture and nursery crops; a full list of specialty crops is available here.

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 “Utah has a diverse and economically significant specialty crop industry. Utah is the nation’s second leading producer of tart cherries and climate produces some of the most desirable stone fruit in the nation,” said Craig Buttars, UDAF Commissioner. “The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is proud to administer this grant program and looks forward to innovative developments in the state’s specialty crop industries.” 

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Applications for grant funds should describe how the project potentially affects and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual. This year, UDAF’s priorities will be projects that are designed to enhance the competitiveness of Utah-grown specialty crops by (1) leveraging efforts to market & promote specialty crops; (2) assisting producers with research & development relevant to specialty crops; (3) expanding availability & access to specialty crops; and (4) addressing local, regional, & national challenges confronting specialty crop producers.

The application window will be open until April 5, 2024 at 11:59pm. Selected project duration will be September 30, 2024 through September 29, 2027.  For more information, contact Allison Ross at [email protected] or visit ag.utah.gov/specialty-crop-block-grant-program.


UDAF Requests Public Comment for Upcoming Specialty Crop Block Grant Application Cycle

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking public  comment for the upcoming Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) application cycle,  which will be open from February 26 – April 5, 2024. The SCBGP is a competitive grant program  operated by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to administer federal funds from the  USDA Agricultural Marketing Service; this grant is open to farmers, private businesses, schools,  trade associations, non-profits, farming and ranching co-ops, etc. headquartered in Utah.  Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery  crops (including floriculture). 

In 2024, $342,390 will be awarded for projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of  Utah-grown specialty crops by (1) leveraging efforts to market & promote specialty crops; (2)  assisting producers with research & development relevant to specialty crops; (3) expanding  availability & access to specialty crops; and (4) addressing local, regional, & national challenges  confronting specialty crop producers.  

UDAF is requesting public input on the following issues impacting Utah’s specialty crop industry  for this year’s application cycle. This input will help shape the ranking and rating criteria  priorities to maximize benefit for Utah’s specialty crop industry.  

  • Enhancing food safety;
  • Improving the capacity of all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (21 U.S.C. Chapter 27)
  • Investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes; 
  • Developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops;
  • Pest and disease control;
  • Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops;
  • Improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; and
  • Sustainability.

Please submit comments by February 23, 2024 at 12pm by email to: [email protected] with the subject line “PUBLIC COMMENT.”

For more information, contact Allison Ross at [email protected] or visit: ag.utah.gov/specialty-crop-block-grant-program.


UDAF Seeks Applicants for Grant Application Scoring Committee 

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking qualified volunteers for the Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) and the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program review committees. Applicants may apply to sit on one or both  committees. By joining a review committee, volunteers gain firsthand knowledge of the peer  review process and become an integral part of the grant award process. Reviewing can help  volunteers become more familiar with the grant process and be better prepared for their own  applications in the future. 

UDAF is especially interested in committee members who are: 

  • members of the agricultural community in the Utah
  • members of the food industry in Utah (producers, restaurant owners, etc.)
  • educators with an emphasis on either agriculture or food
  • familiar with federal grant processes

Reviews will be completed digitally on each volunteer’s schedule between April 8 and 19, 2024  for the RFSI program, and between April 12 and 24, 2024, for the SCBG program. Review  criteria will be provided with the applications. Reviewers should expect multiple applications to  review and should be aware that there will be a likely time commitment of 2-3 hours a week. A  final review meeting may be held if it is determined to be necessary.  

For anyone interested in becoming a reviewer, please contact Allison Ross at [email protected] and include “SCORING COMMITTEE” in the email subject line by March 24, 2024. Selected  applicants will be notified by March 31, 2024.


UDAF Launches $3 Million RFSI Grant Program

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) has been awarded $3,040,043.28 through the USDA AMS Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure program, which aims to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, provide more and better markets to small farms and food businesses, and support the development of value-added products for consumers.


“The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is excited for the opportunities for our producers that the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure grant funding will bring,” said UDAF Commissioner, Craig Buttars. “Programs like this make a tremendous difference in our state’s ability to support the economic viability of farms and food businesses and keep legacy farms in operation. Increasing in-state processing as well as distribution and storage capacity are among our state’s greatest needs. We look forward to seeing the improvements this funding will make.” 

UDAF will be issuing $2,310,934.44 in two rounds of competitive subaward grants to support the development of middle-of-the-supply-chain activities for Utah-based food and farm activities. The first round of applications will go until the end of March, and any remaining funds will be issued in a second round in spring of 2025. UDAF will also be hiring a full-time Supply Chain Coordinator to address critical gaps in the state. Middle-of-the-supply chain includes activities that happen after production, but before they reach the market or end-consumer and may include the aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and distribution of locally and regionally produced food products. Eligible food products include fruits and vegetables, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products (excluding meat and poultry products and animal feed products). Applicants may either apply for the equipment-only simplified project track or the infrastructure project track. 

UDAF will prioritize projects that support the modernizing or improving of distribution, processing and/or manufacturing equipment, projects that will construct new facilities, and projects that will improve water efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or improve air/water quality related to processing, as well as projects led by new and beginning farmers, or historically underserved farmers and ranchers. 

The grant application window for the first round of funding is open February 7 through March 31.  To apply, visit ag.utah.gov/rfsi. For more information, contact Allison Ross at [email protected].