Who can implement this: State and county officials, universities, advocacy organizations, and agricultural producers
Local research conducted by academics and researchers will help Utah County farmers better understand and improve agriculture in their region. The circumstances for farming are constantly changing in Utah County and across the state as urban and suburban development expands and economic markets continue to shift. Researchers at Utah State University should model a variety of agriculture scenarios to help plan for the future of farming in Utah County. They should also establish new strategies that will benefit food growers and expand the state’s agriculture industry.
Researching new agricultural technologies and ways to improve older technologies is crucial in making farming more efficient in terms of time, water, and crop yield. Continuing to research agriculture will help secure Utah’s future food supply and economic growth, especially as it offers specific suggestions for what strategies and tools will best benefit local agriculture. In addition to local universities, private-sector incentives will be important resources in helping Utah develop advancements to agricultural technology and strategies.
Some agricultural technologies focus on increasing crop yields and exploring new ways to produce food. For example, two recent and widely renowned agricultural technologies are vertical farming and aquaponics. Utah County farmers may be unaware of some of these innovations and their benefits to crop yield and efficiency and should be educated about these and other technological advancements in real-world situations.
Since discoveries made in a lab are not readily available to farmers, outreach is an important element of this strategy. Farmers need to be informed of the latest agricultural strategies and production methods so they can better adopt and use such innovations. Increasing farmers’ knowledge on these topics could result in higher yields, less risk, and greater profitability.
- Utah State University has the academic infrastructure and resources to implement this strategy. The university should enhance its partnerships with Utah County agricultural producers so that it can research agriculture and strengthen communication between the school and farmers. Utah State University should also create a scope of needs to find out how to achieve this goal and to look for ways to fund research. Research should be focused on topics that will most benefit Utah agriculture.
- Utah County universities (particularly Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University) should continue to contribute to agricultural research. An educational partnership between Utah State University and the universities in Utah County is necessary to holistically explore food-production strategies and the future of agriculture in the county.
- Universities should do the following:
- Determine a scope of needs and goals to determine a short-term focus for strategy research, modeling, and/or education.
- Determine the amount of funding needed for research and identify funding sources.
- Decide which universities and agricultural producers will be involved, and outline their roles in the research process.
- Maintain and expand partnerships between universities and agricultural producers, and begin more targeted agriculture research, modeling, and education efforts.
Utah State University has some of the most varied and robust agricultural education programs in the country. It offers extensive information on many agricultural topics, ranging from agricultural education to pest management. The university’s Agricultural Experiment Station is dedicated to researching agriculture and improving the availability and quality of natural resources for all Utah residents, and the College of Agricultural and Applied Sciences has departments dedicated to the study of applied economics in Utah’s rural areas, animal and veterinary sciences, plants and soils, sciences and technology, environmental planning, and how to help the future of agriculture in Utah County.
Utah State University is the state’s leading institution in agricultural experimentation and technology research. Committed to ensuring that the United States produces a self-sufficient food supply, the university investigates new technologies and operates labs that research “food safety and processing, plant and animal genetics, and economic and social forces that shape families and communities.”