Jon Meikle, who has farmed in Cache Valley for his entire life, says he estimates that he loses as much as 50 acres of farmland to lease each year. Meikle says it’s painful to “see a productive piece of ag land go under.”

COVID-19 and the drought has brought about many uncertainties in the agriculture community. Lower yields and raising feed prices have farmers working to make ends meet. I had the opportunity to speak with Governor Spencer Cox about farmers here in northern Utah. While my conversation focused on northern Utah, the message he shares is universal throughout the state. 

In April, President Biden introduced the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan to help grow the middle class, expand benefits of economic growth, and make the United States more competitive. This plan includes changes that could affect some people in agriculture. Ruby Ward is an agriculture entrepreneurship specialist with USU Extension. She joins me today to talk about how this plan would affect agriculture.


While visiting the meat section at the grocery store this year, you may have noticed the prices of meat such as pork rising.

You may be seeing less green grass around as Gov. Cox askes Utahns to cut back on their watering habits in a press conference on Tuesday. This all comes after Cox announced he has issued a third executive order declaring a statewide drought emergency.

It’s no longer revolutionary to point out that bacteria can be beneficial in many ways. But until recently, we haven’t had a good handle on the role microorganisms play in plant growth. Now, researchers at Utah State University are starting to ask that question — and the answers may change the way we think about farming.

As Utah continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, residential neighborhoods are being built throughout the state on what used to be farmland.

In an effort to help connect students with local agriculture, the Child Nutrition Program with the Utah Board of Education will be allocating funds to schools around the state.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art

On Thursday’s Access Utah our theme is farming. In the first half of the program we’ll talk about the AgrAbility program, which helps farmers, ranchers and their family members remain in agriculture when facing limitations due to aging, disease, injury, illness, or other disability. In the second half we’ll talk about an exhibit now showing at the USU Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art called “American Farmer,” which features photographic portraits in addition to interviews with farmers from across the United States, telling the inspiring stories of the stewards of this land.

Photo by Mattwl,

There is nothing more damaging to a nation’s economy than a war on its own soil. But the way we think about the long-term economic consequences of war is often tied up in political instability and reconstruction and the cost of care for veterans. That’s all correct, but my guest this week says we’ve overlooked something: The long-term damage to agriculture.

How Does Farming Impact Air Quality In Cache Valley?

Feb 5, 2021

If you’ve ever spent time in Cache Valley during the winter, you’ve likely noticed the layer of pollution trapped in the air. 


Meat packing companies in Utah work with many local famers to prepare their products for retail. However, many agriculture groups are speaking up against a new USDA rule and potential discriminatory action they believe it could cause. 

How Drones Are Used For Agriculture

Jun 17, 2020

Often the best vantage point for evaluating what is going on with crops on the ground is from the sky. Plant and soil scientists and farmers fly camera-equipped drones over large areas to see where to adjust irrigation schedules and where to focus fertilizer applications or weed and pest control efforts.

Evolving Small Grains

Jun 17, 2020

Diseases and pests that threaten wheat and barley are continually evolving. So, it's important to breed and test new varieties that are resistant to emerging threats.

USU Department of Plants, Soils, and Climate

From Utah State Magazine, "In the parched black desert of northeast Jordan, archaeologists recently unearthed a stone hearth containing loaves of flatbread more than 14,000 years old.

This year, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food is expanding its focus to include economic development, as part of its vision to be a service organization with regulatory responsibilities.

Jay Tuddenham uses a ripper to shred through the wet, frozen corn crop leavings as houses and industry encroach on his land.
Kat Webb / UPR

According to Commissioner Kerry Gibson of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Utah has seen an increase in suicide and depression within the agricultural community. He said one reason for this is the continually falling profitability of farms. 

Woman with net stands in high elevation grassland with green hills in the background
Joan Meiners

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about bee biodiversity, blood platelets, genetic engineering, environmental journalism, the fast-changing world of medicine, and the future of our planet. 

Utah Cattlemen's Association


“The big get bigger, and the small go out.” That’s what United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told farmers in Wisconsin last week at the World Dairy Expo. Advocates for family farms are denouncing the claims, saying small farms are as important and innovative as ever. 

Berkeley Wellness

Utah State University was awarded a $500,000 three-year Farmers Market Promotion Program grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant will fund a variety of capacity-building, outre

ach, and marketing activities that will help connect more low-income and ethnically diverse populations to health local food. 

World Agriculture Network

We’ve all heard the terms ‘organic’ and ‘sustainable’ agriculture, but what do those descriptions really mean?

Utah Public Radio explores this question with soil scientist Jennifer Reeve. She presents “What is Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, Anyway?” on Monday, July 15th. 

David Francis / USU Extension

With housing costs along the Wasatch Front climbing 80% since 2005, you might expect the Bastian family, farmers in Salt Lake County, to cash in for a tidy paycheck. But instead they opted to donate 100 acres of prime farmland to Utah State University Extension, with the goal of building a center for increasing agricultural literacy.

Crop irrigation of an alfalfa field
USU Extension

According to the US Geological Survey, 72 percent of Utah’s water is used for irrigation, but there is not a clear understanding of water use at a field level. New research based at Utah State University offers insight about small farm water use in Cache Valley.

Big Changes To Farm Bill Halted After Last Election

Dec 13, 2018

The farm bill is managed the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is the primary budget and policy for agriculture and nutrition programs nationally. The 2018 $867 billion version of the bill was projected to go in a different direction than in years past, but experts say it looks almost identical to the last bill.

USU Soil Judging Students Claim Regional Title

Dec 10, 2018
USU students claim regional soil judging title
Bronson Teichert

Students from Utah State University recently swept the regional soil judging competition hosted by Oregon State University. The region ranges from Oregon to Colorado, all areas with very different kinds of soils.

USU aquaponics project
Bronson Teichert

Produce you enjoy during the winter is shipped hundreds of miles from where it’s grown. Utah State University researchers are finding solutions to grow local food year round.

Employers in the agriculture industry have struggled to keep U.S. and foreign workers according to one Utah State University expert. A new update to the H-2A worker visa program might help workers keep their jobs in states like Utah.

Mark Larese-Casanova

This week on UnDisciplined, we're talking about how genes impact plant growth, but from two very different perspectives. 

Empire State Development

Utah Farmers now have the rules and regulations in place to grow industrial hemp. Lawmakers in this year’s legislative session passed two bills giving the Department of Agriculture and Food the task of organizing an industrial hemp program for local producers.

It’s widely known that large agriculture producers of pork and soybeans are struggling because of overseas tariffs. Producers of smaller operations in Utah are also struggling.