Spring City will hold public meeting after hearing of plight of farmer facing drought

This Spring City farm is overrun by grasshoppers and nearly dried out due to drought conditions. The owner, former Spring City Mayor Neil Sorensen, addressed the Spring City Council last week asking them to help do something to mitigate drought, fire and flood.

SPRING CITY— Leaders of Spring City have responded to pleas from a former mayor and councilman to do something to mitigate drought and the associated fire and flood danger.

Mayor Cynthia DeGrey, along with leaders of the Horseshoe Irrigation Company, have scheduled a public meeting tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. at the Spring City Community Center Ballroom to provide information and talk about how to overcome the problems. For those not able to attend in person, a Zoom link will be available on the springcityutah.org website.

“This is an important meeting and we encourage all culinary and/or irrigation water users to attend in person or via the Zoom link,” DeGrey said.

A week ago, on Thursday, July 1, Neil Sorensen addressed DeGrey and the city council about his concerns with the drought, fire conditions and flood danger that would come after a big fire.

“A big fire could be awful, but I am not worried as much about the fire,” Sorensen said. “I don’t think it would be allowed to reach the city itself; but if the fire swept through the mountains, afterwards the flood danger would be a real problem. A flood would devastate Spring City.”

Sorensen, a prominent local farmer and businessman, told the council he had been meeting with county commissioners, Sen. Mike Lee, and other elected officials to implore them to help the Spring City community mitigate the dangers they face right now.

According to Sorensen, several things are a major hurdle in the fight to mitigate fire and flood danger right now. One of those is limited grazing by sheep and cattle on forest lands, which reduces fuel and thus fire danger dramatically.

“I don’t even care if it’s my sheep that get up there to do it; I just want someone’s sheep up there,” he told the council.

Another problem he says is the dead timber issue, and although the Forest Service is doing logging and forest clearing projects, no substantial ones have come to Spring City’s mountain areas yet.

“So far, the Forest Service has been the main thing holding that back,” he said. “They say…it may be possibly 3-4 years before they get to logging here and we’re set up for a mega fire now.”

Sorensen said the town should consider opening up some local roads into the mountains to allow people to go and cut firewood to reduce danger. He also requested that the city council write a letter to the Sanpete County Commission and other elected officials to urge them to take action.

The Spring City farm he operates, Sorensen Farms, is struggling with the conditions. According to Sorensen, from January 1-July 1, the area has only received 2 inches of rain, leaving his fields bone dry, which opened the door to grasshoppers. They were able to hatch due to minimal amounts of moisture over the spring.

“My farm is decimated,” he told the council. “I invited Mitt Romney out to take a tour of it, and I will give a tour to anyone who wants to see how bad it’s gotten this year.”

DeGrey and the council told Sorensen they would like to help. DeGrey said she thought Sen. Derrin Owens would be interested as well, since he has expressed a desire to help with these situations before.