Utah’s first female agriculture commissioner will retire this month

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune LuAnn Adams, commissioners of agriculture for Utah, is photographed at the Utah Department of Agriculture Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

LuAnn Adams, the first woman to lead the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, will retire later this month, the governor’s office announced Monday.

Deputy Commissioner Scott Ericson will serve as the department’s interim leader until a replacement can be appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert and approved by the Legislature.

Adams’ last day as commissioner will be April 16.

Herbert picked Adams in 2013 while she was serving as Box Elder County commissioner. Before that, she had spent 16 years serving in positions as Box Elder County’s clerk, recorder and surveyor.

“I am grateful to Commissioner Adams for her dedicated service to my administration and the people of Utah,” Herbert said in a news release. “She leaves a great legacy in her service to Utah’s agriculture producers. Her subject matter expertise and commitment will be greatly missed.”

As agriculture commissioner, Adams oversees nearly 200 employees from eight state divisions responsible for — among other things — livestock grazing; weed eradication; soil conservation; meat and poultry safety; homeland-security issues; and even some consumer-protection policies, such as ensuring that the gas pump fills your tank with the correct amount of fuel.

During her tenure, she accomplished a number of internal agency reforms that have created efficiencies in operations and budgets.

“It has been a wonderful life-changing opportunity to serve in Governor Herbert’s Cabinet,” Adams said in the release. “This experience has been the highlight of my career, and I have been honored to work among amazing leaders.”

Adams said she would miss working with colleagues, staff and “the great people in the agriculture industry.”

“I am proud of my accomplishments as commissioner,” she said, “and the opportunity it provided me to promote the determination and grit of those living and working in the agriculture industry.”