Last few months have been a whirlwind for new State Commissioner of Agriculture Craig Buttars

The drought monitor for the state of Utah, as of March 16, 2021. The northern half of Cache County is in a Moderate Drought status, while the southern half is in Severe Drought (areas shaded in orange). Areas in red are in Extreme Drought while areas in maroon are in Exceptional Drought. www.drought.gov/states/utah

Governor Spencer Cox has been in office for just a few months and one of his first appointments made was to tap then-Cache County Executive Craig Buttars as his new Commissioner for Agriculture and Food.

Buttars took some time out from his busy schedule to be on KVNU’s For the People program on Wednesday, which was the same day that the governor issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the long-term drought in Utah.

It’s been quite a whirlwind the last two-and-a-half months (and) especially just the last few days, of course, with the drought and the disaster declaration. And then the legislature that led up to all of that. It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.

An emergency declaration triggers all sorts of state and federal mechanisms to kick in and Buttars said he is anticipating some assistance coming through the department of agriculture.

The drought monitor for the state of Utah, as of March 16, 2021. The northern half of Cache County is in a Moderate Drought status, while the southern half is in Severe Drought (areas shaded in orange). Areas in red are in Extreme Drought while areas in maroon are in Exceptional Drought.
www.drought.gov/states/utah

“We have several loan programs for water projects, and I think it’s important to point out in the last two, three decades there have been huge improvements made to agricultural irrigation,” Buttars added. “And the water savings that have come from those improvements have really been a benefit to our ag producers.”

As Utah continues to grow, the new Ag commissioner said it kind of hurts to see the state’s good agricultural land being paved over with houses and development. Buttars said everyone needs to be aware of the long-term implications of those decisions that are made.

To see the current drought conditions of Cache County, go here; for Box Elder County, go here; and, for Rich County, go here.

AUDIO: New commissioner for Utah Department of Agriculture & Food Craig Buttars talks to Jason Williams on KVNU’s For the People on 3-17-2021

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