Utah Farmers and Ranchers Create a Positive Economic Impact on Their Communities
When we talk about buying local we are often referring to community residents shopping at local book shops and grocery stores versus shopping anonymously online. But the numerous family farms and ranches participating in Utah’s Farm/Ranch Management Program quantified what buying local by agricultural businesses looks like and demonstrated the economic impact they make within their own communities. The direct local benefit from participating farmers and ranchers who purchased tires, lumber, fuel, books, groceries, services, etc. from local wholesale and retail businesses in 2019 averaged $568,134 per family farm. Yes, that’s over a half million dollars pumped into rural communities across the state by these family farms in one year. [Source: Utah Center for Farm & Ranch Management’s Utah Colleges Farm/Ranch Management year-end data 2019]
The Farm/Ranch Management Program, an educational effort to assist farm families in achieving business and personal goals through improved profitability, has been offered in Utah since 1984 through Applied Technology Colleges such as Snow College, Uintah Basin Applied Technical College and Bridgerland Applied Technology College. This innovative instruction is provided monthly at the farm headquarters using actual financial and production information to teach management, organization, and efficiency of their farm operations. Many of the enrolled farms have experienced significant increases in their net farm income related in large part to their commitment to becoming better financial, production, and resource managers. Because of the demand for these classes, Snow College expects to provide their online Quickbooks classes and other Farm/Ranch Management classes across the state by 2021.
On July 29, 2020, Utah Department of Agriculture & Food (UDAF) Commissioner Logan Wilde and Deputy Commissioner Kelly Pehrson met with Snow College President Brad Cook, Provost Melanie Jenkins, Assistant Provost Stacee McIff, Dean LaFaun Barnhurst, Representative Derrin Owens and County Commissioner Steve Lund to learn more about the various agricultural certificates and associate degrees offered at Snow College on both Richfield and Ephraim campuses. Jay Olsen, Kendra Sages, and Matt Goble, the Agribusiness & Agriculture program director and agriculture faculty, led a discussion and tour of the Snow College Ag Business program and Snow College/USU Sustainable Agriculture Education Center (SAGE). The group then toured Bailey Farms International, which is one of the largest exporters of compressed hay grown in Utah and other surrounding states. “Bailey’s is able to turn locally raised hay into a high dollar compressed hay product sold to Pacific Rim countries and the Arab Emirates,” says Jay Olsen, “which makes raising hay in central Utah much more profitable for the farmers.”
The tour of Sanpete County’s agricultural sector ended with a visit to a turkey grower and a successful woolgrower. “This has been a great experience to learn about the opportunities and challenges of our farmers and ranchers in central Utah, and to see firsthand the commitment that Snow College and local elected officials have to developing the state’s future leaders in agriculture,” said Commissioner Wilde.
For more information about the Farm/Ranch Management courses, agriculture related clubs on the Snow College campus, or Agribusiness/Agriculture certificates and degrees contact Snow College via Jay Olsen: Jay.Olsen@snow.edu, Kendra Bagley: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Matt Goble, email@example.com.