USU Extension Presents “Friend of Extension Award” to Bastian Family Foundation

By Julene Reese | March 28, 2023



Utah State University Extension presented its “Friend of Extension Award” to the Bastian Family Foundation at Extension’s annual conference in early March. The Bastian Family Foundation donated $41.25 million in 2022 to honor and preserve the state’s farming past, present, and future, and is the largest single gift in USU history. 

The Bastian family, in concert with USU Extension, founded the Bastian Agricultural Center with the mission of educating the public about contemporary agriculture and inspiring future generations by providing programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as they apply to agriculture. The center is located at the former Salt Lake County Equestrian Park and Event Center in South Jordan. The Bastian family previously donated $6 million toward the initial creation of the center.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Bastian family for their generous donations,” said Ken White, USU Extension vice president. “In addition to the center, they have donated decades of agricultural knowledge, which is a huge support to the center’s mission and goals. Emily and Mary Bastian are amazing, and they truly care about making a difference in people’s lives. We are also grateful to Jake Anderson and Mark Monson, the family foundation representatives, who have been so wonderful to work with.”

Josh Dallin, Bastian Agricultural Center director, said it is remarkable to provide inner-city youth who live in an urban setting with the opportunity to raise livestock at the center. They can then take their animals to the livestock show, sell them, and have that entire experience. 

“The youth are so appreciative, and it makes a huge difference in their lives,” he said. “We were able to bring our 4-H program from Salt Lake County to the center and create a 4-H clubhouse here,” he said. “We have staff on-site who teach youth leadership, STEM, and many ag-focused activities that were challenging to do at the county office in Salt Lake City.” 

Dallin said as the center builds out the dream of the Bastians, it is also meeting the needs of those in the community, whether it is providing a place for teachers to bring their students, or moms who want to get out and let their kids run, play, and experience. 

“As we look to the future, we will be able to provide many wonderful opportunities for our communities,” he said. “In addition to our youth programming, we will hold some of the nation’s largest equine events here this year, which is really exciting!”

The Friend of Extension award is presented annually to honor individuals, businesses, or organizations outside of Extension for their outstanding support and personal involvement in furthering Extension efforts.

“The Bastian Family Foundation is the perfect fit for our award,” said White. “Farming was who the Bastians were as a family, and people can’t live without agriculture. We are pleased to partner with them in both preserving agricultural lands and providing education to those in our communities.”

For further information about the center, visit 


Bastian signing event in 2022: Front row: President Noelle Cockett, sisters Mary Bastian and Emily Markham.  Back row: Jake Anderson and Mark Monson, family representatives.

Horse photo: Brad and Kyra Germann, Rockin’ Horse Photography

Event: Utah Reined Cow Horse Association, July 2021, South Jordan Equestrian Park