Utah residents speak out on future agriculture plans


Some 53,000 Utahns weighed in on Envision Utah’s “Your Utah Your Future” survey on what they’d like to see for the future of the Beehive State.

Envision Utah has released the results when it comes to energy and agriculture. The results are in and some of the answers may surprise you. For example a majority of Utahns would be willing to give up a little bit of their green space, their lawns, in order to save some of that water to grow local food.”

Envision Utah’s president and CEO Robert Grow told ABC 4 News: “Utahns are not at all pleased with where we are in our ability to have locally grown food. We’re down to 3% vegetables and 2% fruit and as a result Utahns are saying, almost in a shocked way, reverse that trend.”

Take a look at the results on participants willingness to make tradeoffs: 37% say they’d be willing to have less water to water their lawn. The same number of people, 37%, would support not allowing homes and businesses to be built on high-quality agricultural land. “There’s lots of good soil in Utah that’s not currently irrigated,” explained Grow. “So if we save water in one part of agriculture and you increase agriculture in another place.”

When it comes to energy this is where many participants wanted to have their cake and eat it too. 43% of Utahns selected an energy scenario that would keep household energy costs low, only a 3 percent cost increase. This plan called for some renewables while transitioning away from coal to natural gas.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Director Alan Matheson explained: “Utah has had the top performing economy in the country for about 4 to 5 months straight. A big reason for that is our relatively low energy costs. People recognize and in this survey, they said that maintaining that low energy cost so we can have a strong economy is important. So again we’ve got this tough balance of maintaining low prices, also being cleaner, and making sure that when we flip the switch the lights come on.”

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