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UPDATED: Weber County farmer arrested for assault; treatment of workers scrutinized

Allegations of human trafficking, fraud being investigated by the state

By Rob Nielsen - | Aug 11, 2023
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Ron Gibson discusses updates he has made to his family dairy in West Haven on May 19, 2016.
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Ron Gibson

A western Weber County farmer has been arrested for assault and is facing accusations of human trafficking and fraud.

According to a press release from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, Ron Gibson was arrested Tuesday after an alleged assault against an employee on his farm. Gibson operates Green Acres Dairy and also serves as president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation.

“On August 8, 2023, Ron Gibson is said to have been involved in a confrontation with an employee at a local farm owned by Mr. Gibson,” the release said. “Regrettably, this confrontation escalated into a physical altercation, resulting in injuries to the employee that necessitated medical attention.”

The release adds that other allegations were brought to light following the arrest and are now under state investigation.

“The investigation has also brought to light allegations of fraud and human trafficking, which are currently being thoroughly investigated by the Department of Public Safety’s Special Bureau of Investigation.”

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, “the victim called 911 and stated he was assaulted by his boss, Ron Gibson. The victim stated him and his several co workers were not being paid. He said the crew has not received their past 4 paychecks from Ron. When the victim went to Ron’s farm where they work, he confronted Ron about not being paid. There was a small verbal altercation that took place. The victim showed me on video, Ron telling him to shut up in Spanish and then proceeded to back hand him across the face. This caused the victims mouth to bleed and required medical attention.”

According to a statement released by the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Gibson is taking a leave of absence from his position as president.

“I deeply regret the incident and apologize for allowing an argument to escalate to an altercation on my farm,” Gibson is quoted as saying in the release. “I’m disappointed in myself. I have deep respect for the men and women willing to work on farms across America, including mine. I simply could not manage the farm without their help, and we wouldn’t have the abundance we do in this country without them. I am taking a leave of absence because I don’t want this personal matter to become a distraction from the important work of the federation.”

The release further states that the federation is upset by the turn of events and lays out how it will move forward for the time being.

“Utah Farm Bureau recognizes and respects the many contributions farmworkers make in American agriculture — both local workers and those coming in from other nations — and deeply regrets how this situation may impact the role these valuable people play in our food system,” the release said. “Utah Farm Bureau Vice President Wade Eliason and the State Board of Directors are leading federation activities while the matter is being investigated.”

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office reminded the public in its release to let the judicial process play out.

“During this unfolding legal process, residents of Weber County are urged to exhibit patience and allow the judicial system to operate independently. The principles of transparency and accountability remain of paramount importance to ensure that justice is not only served but that the rights of both the accused and the victim are fully upheld.”

According to his bio on the Utah Farm Bureau Federation website, Gibson is a sixth-generation farmer known as the “Milkman.” Green Acres Dairy has 1,500 head of dairy cows and grows more than 1,500 acres of corn and alfalfa. The brother of former Weber County Commissioner Kerry Gibson, he is married with four children.

According to the Green Acres Dairy website, the farm routinely opens its doors to the public, hosting Utah’s Sunflower Festival as well as a corn maze and pumpkin patch.


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