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Happy National Ag Day!

National Ag Day was created in 1973 to increase public awareness and understanding of the role of agriculture in our everyday lives. Each year on March 21, we celebrate the importance of agriculture and help people develop a greater appreciation and connection to our local farmers and ranchers.

National Ag Day is all about raising awareness of agriculture‘s vital role in our society. The goal of National Ag Day is simple – we believe every citizen should:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.

From all of us at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to you, happy National Ag Day!!

Watch our new 2023 Ag Day video here:


UDAF Announces Ag Stress Assistance Program

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) announces the launch of the Ag Stress Assistance Program (ASAP) in efforts to provide Utah’s farming, ranching, and rural communities with increased access to mental health services, resources, and education, especially during times of stress.

“Our agricultural and rural communities face significant challenges that contribute to mental health strain. From long-term drought to volatile commodity markets and increasing operating costs, farmers and ranchers face many stressors on a daily basis that are out of their control,” said Commissioner Craig Buttars. “We are proud to be able to provide more resources to our communities and hope we are able to make a positive impact.”

This program operates in partnership with USU Extension AgWellness, whose mission is to provide education, help, and resources for agricultural producers and their families so that stress can be managed.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if’ anymore as much as ‘when’ we will each need the skills to be able to help connect someone that we love to mental health resources,” said Joshua Dallin, USU Extension AgWellness. “Having the knowledge to access the right resources is one of the greatest steps we can take to help improve and save lives.”

The Ag Stress Assistance Program will focus on three primary elements:


· Mental healthcare reimbursement – free mental healthcare is available to Utah farmers and their families, with or without insurance, through reimbursement with the provider of their choice, up to $2,000 per person while funds remain available. Mental health care treatment includes anxiety, ADD/ADHD,  bipolar, depression, grief, insomnia, mood swings, panic attacks, PTSD, relationship problems, stress, substance abuse, trauma, etc. In-person and virtual care options are available.

· Training for producers across the state – USU AgWellness hosts statewide workshops to train those involved in agriculture on warning signs and how to help others in their community. If you work with producers and are interested in hosting a workshop with USU AgWellness presenters, please email Joshua Dallin at

· Training for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline operators – training will be provided for operators across the state on stressors specific to agriculture in Utah through AgriSafe.


Throughout the U.S., farmers and ranchers are nearly two times more likely to die by suicide compared with the general population. In Utah, suicide is the 8th leading cause of death with rural areas having higher rates and less access to care; for youth aged 10-24 in Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death. Agriculture is among the top five major industry groups with suicide rates higher than those of the general population. In 2017, nearly 38,000 persons of working age (16-64 years) in the United States died by suicide, representing a 40% increase in less than two decades. Access to healthcare and mental illness prevalence is a significant issue in Utah; according to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, Utah ranked 46th out of the 50 states and Washington D.C. for the prevalence of mental illness and access to care.

This program was made possible by a $559,605 grant award through the USDA NIFA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. For more information about the Ag Stress Assistance Program and to learn how to apply for mental healthcare reimbursement, visit or

If you or someone you know is experiencing crisis, help is available; call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.




UDAF Officials Issues Statement on Potential Cannabis Program Scams

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) Medical Cannabis Division Director, Dr. Brandon Forsyth, issued the following statement on potential cannabis program scams:

Cannabis Scam Example

“It has been brought to our attention that there is a scam, or potentially multiple scams, being shared throughout the state making false claims that the individuals may be eligible to open their own cannabis dispensary.

We want to clarify that the Utah Medical Cannabis program does not allow for cannabis dispensaries outside of the allowed licensed pharmacies. Any offers stating that individuals can create their own dispensaries are false and considered scams.

We urge the public to not call any numbers or visit any websites associated with these scam materials that are making their way through our state. If an individual comes across any materials with these false claims or other suspicious materials, please contact the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Medical Cannabis Division at”


Seeking 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant Selection Committee

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking 4 qualified individuals to serve on the selection committee for the 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant application cycle. Members of the selection committee will be responsible for reviewing and rating eligible applications independently per UDAF and USDA rating criteria and will meet as a group to determine awarded projects. 

We recognize the value of your time and appreciate your voluntary participation in this selection process. Your input will help further the specialty crop industry in Utah and may help inform future decisions. If you’re interested in participating, please email


  • Must have a basic understanding of:
    • USDA grant programs; SCBG knowledge preferred
    • agriculture systems in Utah
    • specialty crops, availability, marketing, pests, sustainability
    • project planning, cost calculations, consulting contracts and other partnerships involved with project planning 


  • Must have experience with project management
  • Must have work experience in food, agriculture, grants or public management

Time commitment: Approximately 8 hours over a 10 day period between April 3 – April 13th. We anticipate receiving 15-20 applications; some applications are as short as 3 pages, while others can be upwards of 12 pages. Typically, 4-8 projects are selected depending on available funds and best fit. 

  • Application review – each application must be reviewed and ranked prior to the selection meeting: approximately 4-6 hours
  • Selection meeting: approximately 2 hours
  • Total estimated time commitment: approx 8 hrs

If you’re interested in participating, please email


UDAF Seeks Applicants for 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is seeking grant proposals for the 2023 Specialty Crop Block Grant. A total of $355,050 will be awarded. This funding is available for projects designed to enhance the competitiveness of Utah-grown specialty crops; specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and horticulture and nursery crops; a full list of specialty crops is available here

“Utah has a diverse and economically significant specialty crop industry. Utah is the nation’s second leading producer of tart cherries and climate produces some of the most desirable stone fruit in the nation,” said Craig Buttars, UDAF Commissioner. “The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is proud to administer this grant program and looks forward to innovative developments in the state’s specialty crop industries.”

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is a competitive grant program operated by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to administer federal funds from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. This grant is open to producers, private businesses, schools, trade as sociations, non-profits, farming and ranching co-ops, etc. headquartered in Utah. Applications for grant funds should describe how the project potentially affects and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual.

This year, priority will be placed on projects that respond to opportunities and challenges within specialty crop production, processing, distribution, and/or marketing in Utah; enhance food safety or aid in compliance with the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act; improve pest and disease control; increase child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; improve sustainability, and improve efficiency and reducing costs of Utah’s specialty crop distribution systems.

The application window will be open February 22, 2023 through March 24, 2023. Selected project duration will be September 30 2023 through September 29, 2026.  For more information, contact Anne Dunaway at or visit