The Great Salt Lake Collaborative — a solutions journalism organization made up of local newsrooms — requested data from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. We asked for records of who had received funds, project description, money granted, project location, anticipated water savings and actual water savings in the Agricultural Water Optimization Program since it launched in 2020.

We received data on 335 projects from 2020 through spring 2023, accounting for $65 million in projects. The grants ranged from $500,000 to $1,000. Each project listed the percentage of water expected to be saved based on industry standard irrigation system efficiencies. The projected water saved per year in acre feet was available for three out of the five application periods. In the other two, the state didn’t require the data. Read our database here.

FOX 13 News interviewed Once Upon a Christmas Tree and Rep. Casey Snider. FOX 13 News and Utah Public Radio interviewed Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed. interviewed the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The Standard-Examiner interviewed Motta Family Farm and the Bear River Canal Co.


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