By Dave DeWalt, State Statistician, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Mountain Region - Arizona Field Office (Phoenix): A review of 2016 showed that Julie Murphree, the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Communications and Organization Director, requested Arizona agriculture statistical data from me on more than a dozen occasions.  

In 2016, I provided Julie with statistics on locally grown commodities, milk production, organic farming, alfalfa, cash receipts, cotton, small grains, and even bio-tech crops.  In other words, quite a variety of information.  Additionally, Julie re-tweeted several commodity charts that I had posted every time a new Arizona forecast or estimate was released from our office. 

One tweet resulted in an opportunity for Arizona Farm Bureau to answer the question from an east coast citizen “Why do they plant cotton in the desert?”  I provided Julie with Arizona’s statistical information about cotton and Julie prepared a well written response.

It is my duty as the Arizona State Statistician and my pleasure as an agriculture industry supporter to provide Arizona agricultural statistics to anyone who asks. Julie is great to work with and has been gracious for the work the USDA NASS Arizona Field Office does for Arizona agriculture. 

I am thankful that the Farm Bureau understands the importance of the data we provide and uses the data to promote Arizona agriculture to all.

The Arizona farmers and ranchers are the source of this abundance of statistical information and I am thankful to all of them for providing information about their farms and ranches to our enumerators.  Your agriculture contribution to the state is essential. When you’re counted, we can accurately tell your Arizona agriculture story.  As always, all information provided by Arizona’s farmers and ranchers are held strictly confidential, by law. Confidentiality and security have been one of our major responsibilities and promises to farmers and ranchers since Abraham Lincoln was president.

I wish all in the Arizona agricultural community a joyous holiday season and a prosperous 2017.

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