SALT LAKE CITY — Kerry Gibson, the former Weber County commissioner and deputy director at the Utah Department of Natural Resources, has taken over the reins of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that he had appointed Gibson to serve as commissioner of the state agency.
“His experience as a legislator, a county commissioner and especially as a dairy farmer himself will serve him well as he works with Utah’s farmers, ranchers and other important members of our agricultural community,” Herbert said in a statement.
Gibson, also a former member of the Utah House, took the deputy DNR director’s post last June, stepping down in the middle of his second term as Weber County commissioner. He served in the DNR for only about 10 months before the promotion announced Monday.
Gibson, whose family owns and operates a dairy farm in western Weber County, GGA LLC, called it an honor to be nominated to the commission post.
“I express my gratitude to all of those who work so hard every day to provide food and fiber for a grateful nation. Working together with all Utahns, we can make Utah an even better place to live and thrive,” Gibson said in Monday’s statement.
Gibson takes over the leadership post in the department of agriculture from LuAnn Adams, who announced her retirement earlier this month. Scott Ericson, the deputy agriculture commissioner, held the post briefly as interim director ahead of Gibson’s naming.
Gibson will actually be interim commissioner as well pending confirmation by the Utah Senate. The Senate will likely take up the confirmation question during an interim session in May, according to Herbert’s office.
Gibson’s tenure as county commissioner was the focus of an Ogden Police Department probe launched in late 2017 stemming from allegations he misused county equipment, personnel and funds. It was completed last year and ultimately led to no charges after review by the Davis County Attorney’s Office, called in to assist in the matter.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food oversees grazing and weed-mitigation programs meant to augment the health of Utah ag land and watersheds, among many other things. It also inspects retail stores and food-processing plants to maintain food quality and safety and assure correct pricing, according to the department website.
Food grown and processed locally represents 15% of the Utah economy while the state’s livestock industry is worth some $1 billion, according to the department.