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Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013

Oct. 29, 2013

Writer: McCarty Hatfield,

Contact: Matt Palmer,


Matt Palmer, Utah State University Extension agricultural agent and Sanpete County director, was named the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education/National Association of County Agricultural Agents (SARE/NACAA) fellow.

Each year, one Extension educator is chosen from each of the four SARE regions to be part of the SARE/NACAA Sustainable Agriculture Fellows Program. As a fellow, Palmer will attend a series of seminars to learn more about sustainable farming and ranching systems. Palmer will also visit selected farms and ranches across the United States to observe how the principles of sustainable agriculture studied in the class are implemented.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be selected for the fellowship,” Palmer said. “I am excited to learn more about sustainable practices that I can bring back to help agricultural producers and Extension educational programs in Utah.”

Palmer has been an Extension agricultural agent in Utah for more than 13 years and has watched as current food production systems of high input and high capital have put small farmers at a disadvantage. This has turned productive agricultural land into small hobby farms, which are deteriorating due to noxious weeds and destructive pests.

“Sustainable agriculture is a breath of fresh air,” Palmer said. “I have been a student of SARE and the integrated and innovative approach to food production and would like to have the opportunity to learn more about sustainable agriculture throughout the U.S. This will help the farm families in Utah heal the land while providing great products for a growing health-conscious population.”

During his time as an Extension agent, Palmer has conducted three Western SARE-funded projects totaling $151,688. Projects he has been involved with include working with backyard chickens and rangeland forage production, management-intensive grazing, oilseed crops for biodiesel, weed control with sheep and goats, cricket control with Integrated Pest Management, biological control of Tamarisk, in-house chicken manure composting and a local TV garden show.

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