Arizona agriculture always looks for infrastructure and technology innovations to improve farming and ranching practices.

The motivation?

  • Preserving Land and resources for the next generation 
  • Reducing the cost of production
  • Engaging in the inspiring challenge to improve
  • Ensuring a secure food supply for all Americans!


When asked what’s the next “big thing,” Shane C. Burgess, Ph.D., University of Arizona Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, and Charles-Sander Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, says, “Rationally, the next big thing is going to be defined by the private sector, and we must see where it’s going. The Arizona Board of Regents recently defined the next big thing as the New Economy Initiative, which is around incredible job growth in Arizona.”

Burgess when on to say, “I think our division’s contributions to that initiative are going to be in two areas: the first is in the bioeconomy, including things such as introducing new technologies into our agricultural production systems, to our farmers and ranchers, but also new processes which give our farmers and ranchers more scope to generate a greater margin of what they produce and be less reliant as price takers and to be price setters. One enormous opportunity is to take what are now waste streams and costs to primary producers and find and identify technologies that will solve our largest environmental challenges by providing mechanisms by which these waste streams can be converted into high-value products. 

“I think this will extend into technologies that will be of direct benefit in human medicine, as we already do and have done to a greater and greater extent over the decades. We also need to be a part of driving the professionalization of what is the world’s $5 trillion wellness industry. That’s why we launched the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness. There are so many questions around human wellness, but if the pandemic taught us anything, human wellness is fundamental to everything we do and everything we think about.” (Look for more on this in an upcoming article.)

Regarding efforts to improve the climate, American and Arizona Farm Bureaus are members of the Food & Ag Climate Alliance, a coalition creating policy proposals that generate incentives for improvements while protecting our scarce resources. 

As one Arizona farmer has said, “Innovation is not painless. Everyone must work together.”

Many current innovations have already reduced water use for crops. They include

  • Improved seed technology,
  • Irrigation technology improvements in:
    1. Sprinkler systems
    2. Pivot 
    3. Drip
    4. Siphon tube

Ultimately, Arizona’s farmers and ranchers work together to generate a secure and safe food supply and protect agriculture for future generations. 

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