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Leray McCallister – DRAFT

Garrick Hall 435-232-1117
Roberta Valdez 801-982-2226


The Utah Quality Growth Commission was created in 1999 and housed under the Governor’s office of Planning and Budget. One mission of the twelve-member Quality Growth Commission was to promote critical land conservation as part of responsible growth by administering the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation program.

The McAllister Program used funds appropriated by the Legislature to purchase conservation easements on important pieces of private land, acquire small parcels in fee title under limited circumstances and provided small restoration grants to improve conserved lands. Since 2000, the McAllister Fund has conserved nearly 100,000 acres of critical lands in Utah. The legislature appropriated approximately $20 million to this effort, which has been matched over $250 million in other funds.

During the 2022 general legislative session, HB 305, Natural Resource Revisions, (J. Ferry), adjusted provisions of the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund. Beginning July 1, 2022, the program was move to the Department of Agriculture and Food under the Division of Conservation. Questions regarding future applications should be directed to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. UCA 4-46-101 et seq.


The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announces the transfer of the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Fund from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and established administration of the program to the Land Conservation Board on July 1, 2022.  The LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Program provides grants to preserve or restore critical open land or agricultural land in Utah. Matching funds are required.

Eligible applicants are counties, cities, towns, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, other Utah Agencies, and charitable organizations that qualify as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Staff may be able to assist landowners to find an eligible partner if one has not already been identified.


Please note that no funds were appropriated to the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Program during the last Legislative session of 2022.  

We ask for your patience as we structure the requirements and policies for this program housed under the Division of Conservation.


Preserve quality of life for all Utah residents and future generations by promoting conservation and protection of Utah’s agricultural industry and natural resources.


Conserve and preserve agricultural and open lands in the State of Utah where people, agriculture and nature can thrive, by providing professional assistance to landowners and municipalities to encourage environmentally sound planning, land conservation and stewardship.


The Land Conservation Board was created within the department, Division of Conservation, to perform the functions specified in code. UCA 4-46-201(2).

Name Business
Jim Bowcutt Director, Division of Conservation, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Craig Buttars Commissioner, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food
Chairman, Land Conservation Board
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