Utah Governor Spencer Cox with with farmers and ranchers from Box Elder and Cache Counties in Logan to talk about some of his priorities, his desire to provide funding for ag land preservation, and the ongoing drought. Joining him at the town hall were Craig Buttars, Commissioner of the Utah Department of Agriculture & Food, and Joel Ferry, Interim Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox (right) visits with Cache County Farm Bureau Board Member Dan Allen after the town hall.

Cox spoked specifically about efforts focused on helping the Great Salt Lake, and assured farmers they will not bear the burden of water restoration and recovery projects for the lake. He shared that since all Utahns benefit from the Lake in some form, the burden for recovery should not be felt by agriculture alone.

"We do not want to take away water rights," Cox added.

Cox was quick to advocate for agriculture and its role in Utah's economy. He shared that in conversations he has in the media and with others about the current drought, he is quick to defend agriculture and its water use because of the valuable contributions of food and open space they provide. He also added that while there is always room to improve in conservation, we need to appreciate what they have already done.

"No one has conserved more than agriculture," Cox said. "If you ate today, you need to thank a farmer."

Cox further spoke on his desire to better fund the LeRay McAllister Critical Lands Conservation Fund, which is an incentive program providing grants to encourage communities and landowners to work together to conserve their critical agricultural lands. 

Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson (left) visits with Brian Steed, Executive Director of Utah State University's Land, Water and Air Institute, and David Zook, Cache County Executive.

"It was great having Governor Cox come speak with many of our members here in northern Utah," said Ron Gibson, President of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. "We know of the Governor's heritage and love of agriculture, and trust he's doing what he can with his administration to help keep us on solid footing during this drought."

In answering questions from those in attendance, Cox also touched on the economics of agriculture -- specifically in Utah's sheep industry, the value of skill based and technical education, the challenges of building agricultural infrastructure in the state.