Top 10 Truths about Arizona Agriculture

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Communication Director: Some of my favorite “truths” or facts about Arizona agriculture are quite unique to this desert state’s agriculture industry. They make us shine. They tell our story.

Beef, dairy and leafy greens are Arizona agriculture's top ag commodities.

These agriculture facts about Arizona are obviously not the only ones. But, they’re special ones.

So, I share them here.

  1. In Arizona, we can be planting and/or harvesting a vast variety of crops – from asparagus to zucchini -- 12 months out of the year. California and Florida can probably claim this one too, but in our little desert state this makes it even more amazing!
  2. In the west and specifically in Arizona, only 20% of the agriculture lands can be found here. But, we produce 60% of the total value of all agriculture products. This is mostly due to targeted, managed and conservation-conscious irrigation.
  3. In the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture (done every 5 years), Arizona had 20,005 farms and ranches listed. The previous census (2007) the number was 15,637, a 28% increase. Why the large increase? More subsistence farms and ranches on tribal lands are being counted, a unique cultural and historical distinction for our state. While other states do have tribal farms counted, ours represent well over 50% of the farms and ranches counted.
  4. And too that point, Arizona has the highest number of American Indian farmers in the United States.
  5. The 2012 Census of Agriculture recorded more than 26 million acres in agriculture production in Arizona, up 1% from the previous census in 2007.
  6. The average size farm in Arizona is 1,312 acres, representing a bigger farm than is typical across the United States.
  7. The market value of Arizona agriculture products sold during the 2012 Census of Agriculture period was just under $4 billion, up 15% from the 2007 census.
  8. In Arizona, we have the five “Cs”: Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate. And, every one of them including copper and climate have an agriculture connection (mining is considered a form of agriculture). The value of cattle, cotton and citrus production that was sold in 2012 during the Census of Agriculture period totaled nearly $940 million, excluding the more than $760 million in milk sales, according to the USDA.
  9. Arizona agriculture is a $17 billion industry.
  10. Arizona agriculture grows three high-quality biotech crops: cotton, alfalfa and field (feed) corn.

So many more interesting and unique truths about Arizona agriculture exist but these are some of the ones that rank in my top ten list. Join us here on “The Voice” blog and get to know more about this amazing industry in Arizona.

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