LAYTON, Utah – Farmers in Utah remain in survival mode as the state’s historic drought continues.
WATCH: New signs encourage people to save water during drought
“So we’ve had droughts before and I would say that’s for sure in my 25-30 years of farming it’s the most we’ve felt,” Tyson Roberts told a conference. press organized by Gov. Spencer Cox.
Roberts’ family has been farming in the Layton area since 1848. He says this year he has alfalfa and vegetables in his fields, all of which are feeling the effects of less water.
“Not only have we planted less area, but we don’t have enough water to water all the vegetables, so the quality will be a little worse and the yield will be considerably lower,” said Roberts.
READ: Utah officials say drought recovery could take years
Farmers in Utah have seen their water cut by 70-75%, which means they are not able to grow as many crops, and in turn, this is having an impact on the food supply.
“We are going to feel the effects of drought, especially in agriculture for years to come,” Cox said.
Not only will there be less food in our communities, all sectors of our economy will be affected by drought.
“Farmers will buy less seeds and supplies from their neighborhood cooperatives, there will be less purchases and equipment upgrades, less money in general will flow into the local economy due to this drought. “said Cox.
READ: Extreme drought continues to wreak havoc on Utah’s waterways
Using less water reduces crops, nutrition and animal consumption, and will change the supply and cost of feed.
“When the price of food goes up, the rich will do very well, the middle class will do well, but the neediest among us will feel it the most,” Cox said. “When our farmers are struggling with drought, there is a tax on the poor. “
It’s an exciting topic for Cox who is a farmer himself, but one man wants Cox to talk more about solutions rather than just identifying problems.
Zach Frankel established the Utah Rivers Council in 1994 after observing Utah’s conservation efforts compared to other states.
“We knew Utah was lagging behind,” Frankel said.
In more than two decades, Frankel has witnessed the introduction and finalization of several water conservation bills in the Legislative Assembly.
Looking at each bill, Frankel calculated the estimated percentage of the proposed retention and added it up for a rough estimate of what might have been.
“If you add up the amount of waste, that equates to a 1.5 million acre-foot tank,” Frankel said.
This is why state officials say it is so important that residents conserve our water.
“If everyone has conserved, our farmers can produce a little more this year and get away with it and be back even better and stronger next year,” Cox pleaded.
One of the easiest ways to conserve is to reduce watering the lawn.
“If we can grow food with it instead of a lawn, then I think it’s a good decision,” Roberts said.