This is a developing story. ABC4.com will update this post as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: 8/11/23 4:20 P.M.
Gibson was booked into the Weber County Jail on Tuesday, August 8 on one charge of assault (class-B misdemeanor).
Weber Co. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the incident at a local farm owned by Gibson. The victim had called 911 to report that he had been attacked by Gibson, court documents state.
The victim reportedly said that he and “several co-workers” were not being paid, having not received their last four paychecks leading up to the alleged assault.
The affidavit states that the victim confronted Gibson about not being paid, and a “small verbal altercation” took place. The victim reportedly showed authorities a video in which Gibson told the victim to “shut up” in Spanish and then proceeded to “back hand him” across the face.
The victim’s mouth began to bleed and required medical attention, court documents state. He was then taken to to the Ogden Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The Utah Farm Bureau has released the following statement regarding Ron Gibson:
Utah Farm Bureau Federation President Ron Gibson announced today that he has taken a leave of absence from his position following an incident involving an employee on his farm, which is now the subject of an investigation.
Gibson said, “I deeply regret the incident and apologize for allowing an argument to escalate to an altercation on my farm. I’m disappointed in myself. I have deep respect for the men and women willing to work on farms across America, including mine. I simply could not manage the farm without their help, and we wouldn’t have the abundance we do in this country without them. I am taking a leave of absence because I don’t want this personal matter to become a distraction from the important work of the federation.”
Utah Farm Bureau recognizes and respects the many contributions farmworkers make in American agriculture – both local workers and those coming in from other nations – and deeply regrets how this situation may impact the role these valuable people play in our food system.
Utah Farm Bureau Vice President Wade Eliason and the State Board of Directors are leading federation activities while the matter is being investigated. Eliason encourages members and the public to follow advice laid out in a statement of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office to “exhibit patience and allow the judicial system to operate independently… to ensure that justice is not only served but that the rights of both the accused and the victim are fully upheld.”
We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
ORIGINAL STORY: 8/11/23 10:50 A.M.
WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — Utah Farm Bureau Federation President Ron Gibson has been arrested for an alleged assault on an employee, which the Weber Co. Sheriff’s Office said this morning has brought to light allegations of fraud and human trafficking.
Gibson, “affectionately known as the ‘Milkman,'” according to UFBF’s website, has reportedly been taken into custody after an alleged confrontation with an employee at a local farm owned by Gibson.
Officials said in a press release the confrontation turned physical, and the employee suffered injuries that required medical attention.
The assault allegedly “brought to light allegations of fraud and human trafficking,” the release states, which is being “thoroughly investigated” by the Dept. of Public Safety’s Special Bureau of Investigation. No charges have been filed in relation to that investigation at this time, and no specific information on the alleged crimes has been released.
“During this unfolding legal process, residents of Weber County are urged to exhibit patience and allow the judicial system to operate independently,” Weber Co. Sheriff’s stated. “The principles of transparency and accountability remain of paramount importance to ensure that justice is not only served but that the rights of both the accused and the victim are fully upheld.”
The sheriff’s office said they are committed to providing timely updates to the public as the case develops.
According to his UFBF bio, Gibson is a sixth-generation dairy farmer in Weber Co., previously serving as District 2 Director of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Weber County Farm Bureau President, Weber County Vice President, and the county and state Young Farmer and Rancher chairman, the bureau states.
Green Acres Family Dairy, Gibson’s Ogden dairy farm, reportedly milks 1,500 head of dairy cows and grows more than 1,500 acres of corn and alfalfa.
The Utah Farm Bureau is the state’s largest voluntary organization of farmers and ranchers, according to their website. “We consist of more than 34,000 member families committed to protecting Utah’s farms and ranches and ensuring a safe, fresh, and locally grown food supply. Our members live in all of Utah’s 29 counties and belong to county Farm Bureaus, which, in turn, comprise the Utah Farm Bureau Federation.”
ABC4 is in the process of reaching out to Utah Farm Bureau Federation for comment, and this post will be updated if and when they respond.
All persons accused of a crime are considered not guilty unless convicted in a court of law.