August 16, 2023
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.
In July, the UDAF announced that the following businesses had been approved to receive funding under the 2023 Utah Food Security Processing Grant Program:
Heber Valley Meat
Springville Meat Co.
Cache Valley Custom Meats
Uintah Packing Company
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.
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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