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UDAF Announces Agriculture Water Optimization Grant Recipients

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the Spring 2023 Agriculture Water Optimization Grant. This round funded 93 projects, totaling over $20 million in grant money awarded.

“We are excited to continue the charge to help Utah’s farmers and ranchers better optimize their water use on their farms,” said Agricultural Water Optimization program manager, Hannah Freeze. “The response from the agricultural producers to optimize and save water has continued to grow with each application period for this program, showing they are stepping up to be part of the solution.”

The newly funded 93 projects have an estimated water savings of 61,599 acre feet of water annually. All of the previously funded projects to date have an estimated yearly water savings of 172,847 acre feet or over 56 billion gallons of water.

The $20 million awarded to the Spring 2023 applicants was provided by the Utah Legislature in the 2022 legislative session as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds provided to the state of Utah. Additional funds were appropriated for this program in the 2023 legislative session and future application periods will be available.

The Agricultural Water Optimization program was initially funded in the 2019 Legislative Session with the purpose of reducing consumptive water use while maintaining or improving agriculture production; improving water quantification to provide real-time, accurate measurements; and to improve and protect surface and ground water quality by reducing the overwatering of crops.

Recipients can receive up to $500,000 for their projects and a 50/50 cost share is required. For additional information on grant and application requirements, please visit

UDAF Announces Food Security Processing Grant Recipients

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) announces that the following recipients have been approved to receive funding under the 2023 Utah Food Security Processing Grant Program:

  • Mountainland Apples
  • Heber Valley Meat
  • Springville Meat Co.
  • Cache Valley Custom Meats
  • Uintah Packing Company
  • Sunbow Distributing
  • Bingham’s Custom Meats
  • Premium Meat Company
  • Farm Creek Meats, LLC.
  • Ashton Farms Custom Meats
  • Fowers Fruit Ranch
  • Beehive Pack LLC.
  • Monsons Quality Meat Processing
  • Bell Mont Meats
  • Hollow Tree Honey
  • Circle V Meat Inc.
  • Davis Custom Meat Processing
  • Prime Cuts Meat Processing
  • Wall Brothers Orchards
  • Cache Canning Co.
  • Solstice Spices

During the 2023 Legislative Session, UDAF was appropriated $1,000,000 by the Utah Legislature to provide grants to small meat, poultry, and fruit and vegetable processors to make immediate impacts to processing capacity to improve local food security.

In total, UDAF received 89 applications with over $10 million in requests. The department will continue to work with the legislature and hope to make this a continuing grant program that will strengthen food security for the people of Utah.

For more information on the grant and to view application requirements, visit

UDAF Now Accepting Soil Health Equipment Grant Applications

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is now accepting applications for the 2023 Soil Health Equipment Grant to help farmers and ranchers access equipment to implement soil health practices.

“Implementing soil health practices such as planting cover crops and no-till farming has shown to improve the overall health of the soil, but many of these practices also require the purchase of specialized equipment that can be costly,” said Tony Richards, UDAF Soil Health Program Manager. “In an effort to overcome some of these barriers and allow Utah’s farmers and ranchers the opportunity to try these practices, the Utah Soil Health Program is offering grants to organizations that work directly with farmers and ranchers to help purchase equipment related to implementing soil health practices around the state.”

Eligible equipment is required to have a tie to implementing one of the following soil health principles:

1. Keeping the soil covered
2. Minimizing soil disturbance (physical or chemical)
3. Maximizing biodiversity
4. Keeping a living root as long as possible
5. Integrating livestock.

Grant awards will be capped at $50,000 maximum with a minimum of 20% matching funds. The match requirement must be in the form of a financial contribution (no in-kind match). All applications are required to have at least one conservation district as a fiscal partner. All reimbursement payments under the grant will be made to the conservation district. Projects and equipment must be in Utah.

All applications must be received via email or postmarked by August 18th, 2023. For more information, interested applicants can visit here or contact Tony Richards at

State Veterinarian Encourages West Nile Virus Vaccination in Horses

With mosquito season starting, the state veterinarian of Utah is encouraging horse owners to get their horses vaccinated for the West Nile Virus (WNV) to avoid the risk of being infected by this virus, which affects horses, birds, and humans.

“In the past three years, Utah has had 24 reported cases of West Nile Virus in horses,” said interim state veterinarian, Dr. Amanda Price. “In an effort to keep any more horses from contracting this disease, it is important for horse owners to vaccinate their horses against this virus.”

According to several mosquito abatement programs, parts of Utah are seeing up to five times as many mosquitoes this year compared to a normal year, increasing the chance that horses could be bit and potentially infected.

Signs of WNV in horses include stumbling, a wobbly gait, circling, inability to stand, blindness, fever, and death. Not all horses that become infected will show signs of disease, but one-third of horses that show neurologic signs from WNV will die or be euthanized, and up to 40 percent of those that recover can have long-term issues.  

Any horse that has neurologic signs should be seen by a veterinarian. The disease can be diagnosed through a simple blood test. There is no specific treatment for WNV, but owners and veterinarians can provide supportive care like anti-inflammatory medications or fluids to help the horse recover. Humans and horses cannot spread the disease to each other.

Horse owners should work with their veterinarian to protect their horse against WNV. Horses should be vaccinated for WNV once per year in the spring or early summer before mosquito season starts. Horses that have never been vaccinated before need to get a booster to be fully protected. Owners can also practice good mosquito control, such as removing standing water, cleaning water troughs regularly, using mosquito repellents, and bringing horses inside at dawn and dusk, which are peak mosquito feeding periods.

For more information on how to access a WNV vaccination, horse owners should contact their veterinarian.

UDAF Announces LeRay McAllister Working Farm and Ranch Fund Grant Application Period

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is pleased to announce the opening of the LeRay McAllister Working Farm and Ranch Fund grant application period that opens on June 1, 2023.

“Agricultural land preservation is a top priority for UDAF,” said Commissioner Craig Buttars. “The LeRay McAllister Working Farm and Ranch Fund is how our department is working to accomplish this priority by providing avenues for farmers and ranchers to preserve their land.”

Formerly known as the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund, the Fund works to preserve or restore critical agricultural land in Utah by purchasing development rights on these critical lands. This allows farmers and ranchers to continue to utilize their land for agriculture and secures Utah’s local food security. This program also helps maintain open space, which benefits wildlife and keeps Utah’s landscape open and beautiful.

The 2023 grant application period for this fund will open on June 1, 2023 and pre-applications are due by June 30, 2023. Interested landowners must partner with an eligible applicant, such as one of Utah’s counties, cities, or towns; the Utah Department of Natural Resources or other Utah state agencies; and/or 501(c)(3) charitable organizations such as a land trust. Matching funds from another source are required.

For more information or questions about the Fund, individuals may visit or they can contact the Fund manager, Jeremy Christensen at or 385.441.4106.