Arizona agriculture is diverse, robust and comes in all shapes and sizes. This is the case for agriculture in the United States in general. But, when we focus just on Arizona agriculture, we can identify 15,600 farms, ranches and dairies in our desert state, according to the United States Department of Agirculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS). And, the majority of Arizona's farms, ranches and dairies are small.
Surprised? Don't be.
Because of our farmers and ranchers, we have amazingly productive Agriculture in Arizona. And, not only is Arizona agriculture productive, it's healthy for you! Here's why.
1. 98% of our state's farms, ranches and dairies are run by families. They care about what they do and they care about what they're feeding their own families, so that care goes into what they do for you and me.
2. The majority of Arizona agriculture's crops and animal agriculture are fruits and vegetables and meat and plant proteins. The majority of the state's top agriculture products are the things you and I need to live healthy lives. As the USDA's new "MyPlate" website highlights, 50% of what you should be eating are fruits and vegetables. Arizona agriculture grows lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. In fact, in Yuma in the winter, more than 90% of your leafy greens are coming from this desert state.
3. Arizona agriculture's Arizona Farm Bureau provides families with nutritional information via Fill Your Plate. This online interactive directory of farmers and ranchers and farmers market hosts a weekly blog and much more information to help families make wise decisions about eating and nutrition. Fill Your Plate also includes a searchable directory of recipes provided by Arizona farmers and ranchers.
4. Arizona agriculture represents an industry on the forefront of innovation and food safety. Because of the dedication of our farmers and ranchers and the regulatory bodies such as USDA, FDA and EPA, the overall industry adheres to very strict food safety regulations, oftentimes above and beyond what even governmental bodies require as it relates to food safety.
5. Arizona agriculture, when you stick to the basics, represents the core food groups we need to stay healthy. Besides the array of fruits and vegetables we grow, the basic food groups are all represented by Arizona agriculture. Stick to the basics and you stick to good nutrition and good health.