Six Utah legislators have been honored by the Utah Farm Bureau for their contributions to Utah farmers and ranchers.
Presented recently with Friend of Agriculture awards were Sens. Cary G. Peterson, R-Nephi, and Ivan M. Matheson, R-Cedar City, and Reps. Glen E. Brown, R-Coalville, Mike Dmitrich, D-Price, Ray Nielsen, D-Fairview and Ray S. Schmutz, R-St. George.Farm Bureau president Ken Ashby, said the six "have in some way left their mark indelibly on Utah agriculture. We in the agricultural industry owe them all a debt of gratitude for their selfless efforts to promote the needs and interests of this most basic of industries."
Peterson, a purebred cattle breeder and wheat farmer, has served as a vice president in the Utah Cattlemen's Association and was honored as Cattleman of the Year and Honorary State Farmer by the Utah Future Farmers of America.
Ashby said the Senate majority leader "was instrumental in the passage of the sales and use tax exemption for farm equipment and the property tax exemption for livestock, co-sponsored the constitutional amendment to remove property tax from farm machinery and has been a key figure in the protection of water rights and a promoter of water resource development."
Matheson, who, with his family, operates a dairy farm near Cedar City, is president of the Iron County Water Users Association and past president of the Utah Association of Counties.
"As a lawmaker, Matheson has chaired both the Agriculture Standing Committee and co-chaired the Governor's State Water Study Committee in 1978," Ashby said.
Brown, the speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, operates Brown's Summit Dairy near Coalville, was Utah Dairyman of the Year in 1980 and is past president of the Utah Holstein Association.
Ashby said Brown co-sponsored the legislation to exempt farm machinery from sales and use tax in 1979, a measure "which has saved farmers and ranchers millions of dollars. The following year, he sponsored the agriculture nuisance law, protecting the farmers' and ranchers' rights to farm."
Dmitrich, minority leader in the Utah House for 20 years, is government and public affairs director for Cyprus Minerals in Price. "Dmitrich has served on the Energy Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee, supported agriculture in the Transportation and Public Safety Committee, supported funding for range resource development through the Utah Department of Agriculture and has been an aggressive advocate for the multiple use of public lands."
Nielsen, who was elected to the House in 1972 after his retirement from the Army Corps of Engineers, "has concentrated his legislative career on agriculture and natural resources where he believes he can do the most for his constituency."
Ashby said Nielsen has been tireless in his efforts to improve funding for water development.
Schmutz, a farmer and rancher, has served on the Washington County ASCS Committee and as secretary of the St. George and Washington Canal Board for 40 years.
"He has been a chief sponsor for many agricultural legislative priorities over the past several years, including those dealing with trespass, water rights, right to farm and tax equality for farmers and ranchers."