Water Quality

Water Quality

Utah farmers and ranchers are responsible for producing a safe and abundant food supply. They also take pride in being good stewards of land, air, and water resources. In Utah, livestock populations are increasing and concentrating in certain parts of the state. This concentration poses potential problems for environmentally-sound manure management. Runoff from farm fields and feedlots can contaminate ground and surface waters with nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment. Many of Utah’s water sources are used for human consumption, recreation, and fisheries, as well as irrigation. Improper handling and use of manure and inorganic fertilizer can impair the quality of these waters and cause human health problems.

Utah livestock producers are being proactive to avoid the possibilities of regulatory action, fines, and permitting by voluntarily addressing water quality problems. In 1999, Utah Farm Bureau decided to sponsor a voluntary, incentive-based program to assist agricultural landowners in improving their water quality. Utah Farm Bureau joined with other agricultural partners to develop a Utah Strategy to Control Pollution from Animal Feeding Operations. The purpose and goal of the program is simple.

  • To meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
  • Maintain a viable agriculture industry.
  • Maintain the decision making at the local level.

To accomplish these purposes and goals, the program has made available technical assistance to farmers and ranchers in writing management plan and implementing improvements. Also, education about the strategy, best management practices and funding opportunities are available.

Mark Petersen, Water Quality Specialist for the Utah Farm Bureau, working with our partners in UACD, USU Extension and NRCS, has given numerous workshops and worked with many farmers and ranchers in Utah. He continues to give presentations and do on-site consultations. If you have questions about water quality rules or regulations or if you desire a consultation, contact Mark Petersen at: 801-233-3014, 801-450-5981 (cell) or  petersenmm@comcast.net.