Source: CVDaily Feed
As the first woman to serve as Utah’s commissioner of agriculture and food, LuAnn Adams is busy. Over 200 employees from eight state divisions report to her.
She is the state’s seventh agricultural commissioner.
In late-2013 she left her role on the Box Elder County Commission when Governor Gary Herbert appointed her to replace Leonard Blackham who retired after nine years.
She and her husband, Bob, operate a large cattle ranch and dry farm in Promontory near the ATK Aerospace Systems and the historic Golden Spike railroad.
When she took over the department there was a high interest in farming and food production and that interest continues.
This week, for the second year, she challenged Utah farmers and ranchers to again celebrate National Agriculture Day (Tuesday, March 15) by taking a snapshot of their farm or ranch, to document the many aspects of Utah agriculture.
“We are getting more and more urban and people are not realizing where their food is coming from,” she told Cache Valley Daily on Tuesday. “So we just wanted them to snap a picture and describe what they are doing on their ranches and farms. I think it is good for Utah consumers to connect with the farmers and ranchers that are raising food for us.”
The governor called her to this new responsibility from her extensive background not only in ranching but also public service.
For 16 years Adams was a recorder-clerk and surveyor in Box Elder County before her three years on the Box Elder County Commission. She became acquainted with Herbert while, as Lt. Governor, he was responsible for statewide elections. They worked together during a time Box Elder County was trying out new voting machines.
She said one of the challenges serving as commissioner is preserving land for agriculture.
“We are working right now with Utah County to come up with a toolbox of ideas on how local and state government and landowners might be able to preserve agricultural land for the next generation.
“Ag water is going to be a big issue, too. This year we hit 3 million population and by 2050 Utah is projected to grow to 5.5 million. Keeping enough Ag water and land in face of that growth will be a challenge.”
She said an Envision Utah “Values Survey” last year reflected favorably on agriculture, with 74 percent of those polled indicating it was critical to Utah’s future.
“Utahns want to know where their food comes from,” said Adams. “There are 18,000 farms and ranches in Utah. They want to buy from a Utah farmer or rancher. In fact, About 1,800 of Utah’s agricultural operations, 10 percent, currently sell directly to consumers.”