Pub. 12 2024 Issue 1

2024 Ag Outlook & Conference Report

This year’s Ag Outlook & Conference — the UBA’s longest-running conference — was held Feb. 6-7, 2024. Nearly 40 ag lenders from around Utah convened at the Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center to hear from experts on topics ranging from economic and food trends to weather to the Great Salt Lake.

Deputy Commissioner Kelly Pehrson of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food kicked off the conference Tuesday afternoon with an overview of his department’s goals and new programs, with a heavy focus on food security and supply chain, preserving ag land and identifying a younger workforce. Farmer Mac Senior Economist Blaine Nelson provided an ag economic update. Then, the meeting adjourned so the group could tour the South Valley Equine Center in Saratoga Springs, an impressive veterinary facility providing health and reproductive services for horses throughout the Intermountain West.

The bankers reconvened on a rainy and snowy Wednesday morning, which started appropriately enough with a weather presentation from KSL Weatherman Matthew Johnson. Then Terry Camp and Tyson Roberts from the Utah Farm Bureau Federation presented trends and challenges for the food and agriculture industries, leading to the popular Utah State University Ag Outlook, which included updates about hay, cattle and dairy, as well as a discussion of crop insurance tools.

Ed Elfmann from the American Bankers Association gave an update about agriculture policies and legislation that are being worked on in D.C. and implored the assembled bankers to add their voices to the discussion. Brian Steed closed out the conference with a lively discussion about the Great Salt Lake and what he is doing as Great Salt Lake commissioner to protect the lake and the numerous interests — economic, ecological and agricultural — that surround it.

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