Davis County farming family hopes to save acreage
FARMINGTON — A Davis County family, which has been farming since the early 1900’s, is trying to hold on to some valuable property that could be taken away due to development.
The 23-acre parcel is located at 650 W. 500 S. in Farmington and is owned Chas. Bangerter and Sons. The family currently has about 90 acres that are planted every year.
“We grow sweet corn, we grow beans, eggplant, peppers, radishes, beets, you name it — we grow it,” company president Alan Bangerter said Thursday.
The produce is sold to area grocery stores and distributors, including Associated Foods, Kroger and Walmart. The family also sells direct to the public at produce stands set up on its Bountiful property.
“The problem is vegetable farming ground is getting scarce and getting scarcer all the time,” Bangerter said.
In fact, the family has lost a couple of parcels due to the planned route of the West Davis Corridor, and now might lose part of the 23-acre parcel as well. The City of Farmington may use it to develop some additional soccer fields.
Throughout Farmington and other parts of Davis County, new development is everywhere. A new high school is underway, more houses and streets are being built. Farmland and horse property are being encroached upon more and more every year.
The future of the Bangerter property in Farmington is still up in the air, but in January, the family filed a petition with the city in an attempt to hold on to the land.
“It’s called an Agriculture Protection Area Petition,” Bangerter said.
Under Utah law, if the petition is ultimately approved, it would protect the land from development for 20 years.
The Farmington city attorney says the petition has to go through a process of review by several governmental agencies before finally going before the Farmington City Council. That process could take several months.
The Bangerters also started a social media campaign on Facebook Tuesday night, urging supporters and customers to contact the mayor and councilmembers to express support for the farmland. The page is getting quite a bit of buzz so far.
Alan Bangerter says he’s gotten calls for years from realtors wondering if he’s ready to sell any of his land. Not a chance, he says. The family just wants to save its livelihood and tradition. The company hires about 150 people each year, most of them teenagers looking for summer work. The company pays out about $400,000 each year in salaries.
“Farmers can do whatever they want with land. If they have property and want to sell it, for whatever they can get out of it, that’s fine. I don’t want to sell mine. I don’t want it taken. I want to farm it,” Bangerter said. “You can’t recover it. It’s a way of life that will be gone.”
A public hearing on the Agriculture Protection Area Petition is scheduled for May 1, at Farmington City Hall.
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