Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases By Date

 

U.S. EPA Administrator to present president’s award to Utah farmer for voluntary service to the environment

Release Date: 04/17/2007
Contact Information: Frank Montarelli, 303-312-6780, montarelli.frank@epa.gov

Citizen dedicates time, effort to protect watersheds


    (Denver, Colo., April 17, 2007) -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will present Jay Olsen with the President’s Volunteer Service Award today, April 17, at the Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City. Olsen, who lives in Ephraim with his wife, Tawny and their nine children, has been an active volunteer and leader in watershed protection in Utah.

    “Today we honor Jay Olsen for answering President Bush's call to serve a cause greater than himself,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Dedicated volunteers like Jay are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future."

    Olsen grew up in Sanpete County and is a full-time farmer. A Brigham Young University graduate, he runs 1,500 acres of farm ground with 250 cows and 60,000 turkeys. He was awarded the “Farmer of the Year” award by the local Conservation District Board last year.

    Olsen has long been concerned with water quality on his farm and in his local watershed. The local farm bureau, of which Olsen was president at the time, started a water quality steering committee in 1999 called the San Pitch River Watershed Stewardship Group. As chairman, Olsen helped secure more than $1 million in water quality grant funding. The watershed group developed, under his guidance, the Water Quality Management Plan for the San Pitch River Watershed. Also while he was chairman, some of the group's projects included a fourth grade watershed education day program, now in its third year, which reaches 350 to 400 students in Sanpete County. In addition, the watershed group offered free soil testing to Sanpete county farmers and educates farmers about proper fertilizer application. As a result, fertilizer application rates declined, benefiting water quality and saving farmers thousand of dollars in fertilizer costs. He also helped initiate the first Farm Works training class in Utah, teaching about farm management programs which track fertilizer application rates and soil testing data. Olsen has been helping local water users cope with the landslides of Twelve Mile Canyon near Mayfield, which have resulted in millions of dollars in crop loss due to excess sediment. The watershed group is starting a high school biology class watershed education day.

    In April 2003, he was appointed by Gov. Olene Walker to serve on the Utah Water Quality Board as a representative of agriculture and livestock interests.

    Administrator Johnson, during his travels across the country, meets with individuals like Olsen who are answering the call to volunteer service, environmental education and pollution prevention.

    President Bush, in his January 2002 State of the Union Address, called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service. He created USA Freedom Corps, an Office of the White House, to strengthen and expand volunteer service. Americans are responding to the President’s Call to Service. Go to www.volunteer.gov or call 1-877-USA-CORPS to find an existing volunteer service opportunity in your area or to find more information about service programs, including national service programs such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Citizen Corps. USA Freedom Corps is also highlighting youth volunteer service. Visit www.volunteerkids.gov for games and ideas to see how America's youth are making a difference.

    The President's Volunteer Service Award was created at the President’s direction by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The Award is available to youth ages 14 and under who have completed 50 or more hours of volunteer service; to individuals 15 and older who have completed 100 or more hours; and to families or groups who have completed 200 or more hours. For more information about the Award, please visit www.presidentialserviceawards.gov.