Cache County is famous for its rich agricultural heritage not only across the state, but across the nation.
In the 1800s Cache County was known as an oasis for agricultural cropland. Lush, green, grass fields could be seen throughout the valley. This led many settlers into Cache Valley to capitalize the cropland. As railroad transportation became more accessible in the 1900s and extensive canals were constructed, the availability of different agriculture markets increased and many farms sprung up.
Cache Valley became the ideal spot for agriculture production, especially dairy. In 1910, there were over 16,000 dairy cows in the county. Due to this early boom in dairy production, many creameries and dairy processing plants were developed in the valley. These businesses and industries allowed Cache County’s dairy industry to keep growing and flourishing.
Because of the early establishment of the dairy industry, Cache County continues as the state’s leader in dairy production even today. At its peak it is figured there were over 500 dairy farms and around 20,000 dairy cattle in the county.
Today much of Cache County’s agriculture is focused around dairy. In the last agriculture census (2017) Cache County had 16,400 dairy cattle, and it was figured that milk produced from dairy cows in Cache County totaled $62,683,000.
Even with this success we have seen over the years, it has not been easy for our dairy industry. Over the last 10 years many dairies have had to close their doors and sell the cows because of many difficulties that come with operating a dairy.
Increased dairy production costs and decreasing milk prices have caused many problems across the nation and Cache County has not been exempt. It is important to remember to thank our dairy producers for the continued sacrifice they make to provide us the dairy foods we love.
Last week, in honor of our dairy producers and to celebrate the local rich dairy heritage, Cache County held its first ever Cheese & Dairy Festival. This event included a cheesecake contest (with over 43 entries), a cheese sensory workshop to teach people how to evaluate cheeses, and multiple opportunities to interact with individuals involved in the industry from our own community. Over 5,000 people attended, a great start for a brand-new festival. I hope that many of you were among those that attended.
This festival is just one small way that we are able to thank our dairy producers while also celebrating the rich history of Cache County. If you were not able to make it this year, I hope you will keep it in mind for next year.