AGRICULTURE Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were created by the Agriculture, Public Lands, and Recreation Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s agriculture in 2050. The scenarios differed in the following variables:

  • How much agricultural land is converted to other uses
  • How much water Utahns take from farmland
  • What kinds of crops are grown
  • Whether additional land is cultivated
  • The resulting levels of food self-sufficiency

The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future survey in spring 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Seagull, Sego Lily, and Quaking Aspen (the state fossil, fish, bird, flower, and tree).

97% OF UTAHNS CHOSE ONE OF THE TWO SCENARIOS IN WHICH FOOD PRODUCTION IN UTAH INCREASES SUBSTANTIALLY BY 2050.

ALLOSAURUS Scenario

ScenarioSummary_AL_Ag.jpg

As Utah’s population almost doubles by 2050, food production in Utah decreases significantly. Farmland and water along the Wasatch Front are sold to accommodate expanding communities. Additional water is moved from working farms to urban areas, taking those farms out of production as well. No new farmland is added, and almost all fruit and vegetable production is lost. Protein, dairy, and grain production also decline. As Utah grows, significantly less local food is grown per person, and almost all of our fruits, vegetables, and dairy, as well as some grain and protein, must be imported to feed our population. Utah is increasingly susceptible to droughts, food supply interruptions, and food contamination that occur in the states and countries that produce our food.

BONNEVILLE TROUT Scenario

ScenarioSummary_BT_Ag.jpg

As Utah’s population almost doubles by 2050, food production in Utah decreases. Although farmland and water along the Wasatch Front is sold to accommodate expanding communities, no additional water is moved from working farms to urban areas so those farms remain in production. No new farmland is added, and most of our fruit and vegetable production is lost. Protein, dairy, and grain production also decline. As Utah grows, less local food is grown per person, and almost all of our fruits, vegetables, and dairy and some protein and grain must be imported to feed our population. Utah is increasingly susceptible to droughts, food supply interruptions, and food contamination that occur in the states and countries that produce our food.

SEAGULL AND SEGO LILY Scenario

ScenarioSummary_SGSL_Ag.jpg

As Utah’s population almost doubles by 2050, food production in Utah increases for some products. Some farmland and water along the Wasatch Front are sold to accommodate expanding communities, but our communities are compact and use less agricultural land. Because no additional water is moved from working farms to urban areas, those farms remain in production. No new farmland is added, but 13% of our irrigated alfalfa and hay is converted to fruit and vegetable production, though we still need to import 90% of our fruit and vegetables. Because of improved self-sufficiency, Utah is somewhat less susceptible to droughts, food supply interruptions, and food contamination that occur in the states and countries that produce our food.

 

QUAKING ASPEN Scenario

ScenarioSummary_QA_Ag.jpg

As Utah’s population almost doubles by 2050, food production in Utah increases for all products. Some farmland and water along the Wasatch Front are sold to accommodate expanding communities, but our communities are compact and use less agricultural land. Though farmland is converted to homes and businesses, much of the agricultural water from those lands is transferred to other farmland instead of being used for those homes and businesses. Because no additional water is moved from working farms to urban areas, non-urbanized farms remain in production. New farmland is added, and 29% of our irrigated alfalfa and hay is converted to fruit and vegetable production, though we still need to import 80% of our fruits and vegetables. Protein, dairy, and grain production also increase. Because of improved self-sufficiency, Utah is less susceptible to droughts, food supply interruptions, and food contamination that occur in the states and countries that produce our food.