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Newly elected Utah Farm Bureau president gives goals for the New Year

Green crop rows on a farm.
Dan Meyers
Crop rows on a farm.

Newly elected Utah Farm Bureau Federation President Valjay Rigby, who has farmed his whole life, has a list of issues he plans to address moving forward.

One of them is wildlife policies and their impact on farmers and their land.

“A significant amount of the wildlife impacts agriculture," Rigby said.

Rigby explained that wildlife often take land needed to feed livestock and ruin farming acreage. He says farmers should be able to the sell their own private hunting permits to balance out the money lost from wildlife damages.

“There ought to be a mechanism to compensate landowners and allow them to get a permit that they can then sell somehow, so that I'm not just feeding the deer on forage that I need for my cows," Rigby said.

At the recent Utah Farm Bureau convention, another issue discussed was backyard beekeepers. There has been a significant increase in backyard beekeeping, and Rigby wants to enhance the current policies on beekeeping to support those keepers.

Another policy Rigby hopes to challenge is agritourism. He wants to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to bring in consumers for tours of their facilities, saying that current policies make it difficult to have visitors due to liability issues.

“Everybody in agriculture wants to take care of the environment because they understand as much as anyone how important that we have healthy ecosystems," Rigby said, speaking for members of the Farm Bureau. "And it's to their benefit to have a healthy ecosystem. And that's why when we look at all of these solutions, we have to have something that is balanced, measured.”

With the coming new year, Rigby hopes to work closely with farmers and ranchers.

“We spent a lot of time refining our policy, but now we're going to work on how we can implement it," Rigby said.