With the increasing severity of the current drought, several Utah Farm Bureau members have been featured in media coverage to put a face behind the suffering. Currently, 100 percent of the state is in drought, with 64 percent of land listed as "exceptional drought" -- the most severe classification -- and 93 percent in the second most severe classification -- extreme drought.
According to Candice Hasenyager, deputy director of the Division of Water Resources, reservoirs are 15% lower than last year. Accordingly, Utah Governor Spencer Cox recently issued an executive order related to water use restrictions.
While the impacts of drought can be an abstract for most urban residents, with impacts difficult to measure, several Utah Farm Bureau members have shared their accounts, which including selling off livestock, bone-dry livestock watering ponds, and an inability to find adequate grazing ground.
Dustin Cox, a Kane County rancher, was recently featured on the national PBS broadcast on drought, sharing his experiences and hopes for a return to average summer monsoon rains.
Washington County rancher Kelby Iverson was also included in a news report on a local Fox News affiliate about how the lack of grazing has caused them to reevaluate their cattle herd.
Additional coverage has been found in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and other print and broadcast stations. To help the Utah Farm Bureau further advocate for drought relief, it has partnered with the American Farm Bureau to use a survey of its farmer & rancher members to assess the impacts of the drought on agricultural operations in Utah. To take the survey, click HERE.