Governor names lawmaker as new Utah Agriculture and Food commissioner

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Rep. Logan Wilde comments on a bill, late in the evening, on the final day of the 2019 Legislature, March 14, 2019.

Rep. Logan Wilde, a Croydon Republican and rancher, will be the new Utah commissioner of agriculture and food if the state Senate confirms him.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced the appointment Friday, calling Wilde “the perfect fit for this position.”

He touted his leadership skills and expertise as a longtime rancher.

“My love for Utah, its people, its values, and its potential has increased exponentially,” Wilde said in prepared remarks. “I am extremely excited to serve in this new capacity, and feel honored to do so.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Wilde will replace Kerry Gibson, who resigned earlier this year to run for the 1st District seat in Congress.

Since 1998, Wilde has worked as a managing partner at M.R. Wilde and Sons. He previously served as chairman of the Morgan County Council, and as chairman of the Weber-Morgan Board of Health.

He was elected to the Utah House in 2014 after a bruising primary in which he ousted longtime lawmaker and onetime House Speaker Mel Brown.

In the 2019 legislative session he sponsored a controversial bill that stripped local governments of some of their authority to regulate gravel mines, although it did leave their land zoning powers intact.

Herbert announced the appointment one day after the candidate filing period closed.

Wilde had filed for reelection but now will withdraw. That leaves two Republicans vying for the party nomination: Tal Adair, a home mortgage officer from Francis, and Kera Birkeland, a self-employed preschool teacher from Morgan. The primary winner will face Democrat Cheryl Butler in the general election.