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Utah hands out food, water grantsUtah hands out food, water grants

Over $21 million given for more than 100 projects.

Farm Press Staff

August 16, 2023

2 Min Read
Bear River
The Bear River flows in northern Utah.Tim Hearden

Utah state officials have handed out over $21 million in grants for water optimization and food processing capacity this summer.

The bulk of the money – over $20 million – funded 93 projects with the Spring 2023 Agriculture Water Optimization Grant, the Utah Department of Food and Agriculture recently announced.

“We are excited to continue the charge to help Utah’s farmers and ranchers better optimize their water use on their farms,” said Hannah Freeze, the state’s ag water optimization program manager. “The response from the agricultural producers to optimize and save water has continued to grow with each application period for this program, showing they are stepping up to be part of the solution.”

The newly funded 93 projects have an estimated water savings of 61,599 acre feet of water annually. All of the previously funded projects to date have an estimated yearly water savings of 172,847 acre feet or over 56 billion gallons of water.

The $20 million awarded to the Spring 2023 applicants was provided by the Utah Legislature in the 2022 legislative session as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds provided to the state of Utah. Additional funds were appropriated for this program in the 2023 legislative session and future application periods will be available.

The Agricultural Water Optimization program was initially funded in the 2019 Legislative Session with the purpose of reducing consumptive water use while maintaining or improving agriculture production; improving water quantification to provide real-time, accurate measurements; and to improve and protect surface and ground water quality by reducing the overwatering of crops.

Recipients can receive up to $500,000 for their projects and a 50/50 cost share is required. For

additional information on grant and application requirements, visit https://ag.utah.gov/agwater-optimization.

Food security

In July, the UDAF announced that the following businesses had been approved to receive funding under the 2023 Utah Food Security Processing Grant Program:

Mountainland Apples

Heber Valley Meat

Springville Meat Co.

Cache Valley Custom Meats

Uintah Packing Company

Sunbow Distributing

Bingham’s Custom Meats

Premium Meat Company

Farm Creek Meats, LLC.

Ashton Farms Custom Meats

Fowers Fruit Ranch

Beehive Pack LLC.

Monsons Quality Meat Processing

Bell Mont Meats

Hollow Tree Honey

Circle V Meat Inc.

Davis Custom Meat Processing

Prime Cuts Meat Processing

Wall Brothers Orchards

Cache Canning Co.

Solstice Spices

During the 2023 Legislative Session, UDAF was appropriated $1,000,000 by the Utah Legislature to provide grants to small meat, poultry, and fruit and vegetable processors to make immediate impacts to processing capacity to improve local food security.

In total, UDAF received 89 applications with over $10 million in requests. The department will continue to work with the legislature and hope to make this a continuing grant program that will strengthen food security.

For more information on the grant and to view application requirements, visit https://ag.utah.gov/foodsecuritygrant/.

Source: Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

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