Arizona Agriculture

Arizona Agriculture

The vast land of Arizona composes of canyons, plateaus, mountains, forest and dry land making it different from north to south. According to the census of Agriculture, in the year 2007 almost 36 percent of total land area of Arizona is farm land, which accounts for 26, 500,000 acres and out of this around 4. 6 % are crop land and 23, 680, 000 acres are pasture land. Only a 68 percent of the land under agriculture is irrigated though the water from dams, reservoirs and lakes which is very space in water most of the time. Although the availability of water and the land under cultivation is low, a number of people in Arizona find their livelihood in agriculture and related activities.

Food sector and Agriculture is a major source of the Arizona economy and about 7 billion dollars are gained by the state of Arizona from the agriculture and related activities. Agriculture also creates around 75 thousand job opportunity for the people living there, either in the production field or in the processing of agriculture goods. It is estimated that for every person working in the production of agricultural goods, two are working in the processing of it.

The climate in Arizona
The southern part of Arizona, the basin region is arid land with relatively fertile soil. Year round cultivation of crop can be possible on this land if proper irrigation facility is available. Arizona receives its majority of rainfall during the summer period and hence summers are very much suited for agriculture as the availability of water is ensured.
Soil of Arizona
Most of the crop lands are located at the alluvial basin area of the rivers like Colorado, Salt River, Verde and Agua Fria. These spots are very fertile and best suited for agriculture. But in many parts of the Arizona, the soil has very low organic matter, which is roughly around only 1 percentage by weight. The top soil layer which is the most fertile and nutritive layer is also very less, about one centi meter or two. The well established irrigation facility like the dams and the water storage lakes and reservoir in Arizona helps in irrigating a larger portion of the land to make it possible to cultivate food and cash crops year round. Arizona is having one of the well established irrigation networks in the world which has greatly helped in the agriculture growth in this otherwise dry state.
Agricultural products of Arizona
The agricultural output if Arizona is almost evenly distributed between crops and livestock. Cattle and calves, lettuce, dairy products, cotton, and hay are the top five agricultural goods of Arizona.
Arizona Agricultural Crops

Around ten thousand farm lands with an average size of 2610 acres are under cultivation in Arizona. Lettuce which forms around twenty percent of the state's total crop is the major food crop cultivated in the southern fertile basins in the state of Arizona. The place Yuma in Arizona is considered as the winter lettuce capitol of the world and around twelve million heads of lettuce are harvested each day. It is the warm weather here that had made the lettuce cultivation and production very high.

 The major cash crop of Arizona is cotton and Arizona is ranked tenth in the United State in cotton production. The 6% of farm receipt of the state is cotton and the cotton harvested in a year meets the requirement of producing at least one pair of jeans pant for everyone in the nation.

Hay is also an important product of Arizona and 5% of the farm receipt is hay, which is also one of the major products in the state. Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are produced in very high amount and it accounts for about three to four percent of the states revenue. The state is ranked number 2 in the production of these fruits along with head and leaf lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and lemon. Vegetables, cotton, cotton linters, seeds and fruits are among the top export crops of the state. The state also produces alfalfa and the harvest is much more than double (8.4 tons per acre) when compared to the national output which comes just around 3.4 tons per acre. Other important crop cultivated in the state of Arizona includes wheat, barley, citrus fruits and grapes and potatoes.

Live Stocks
Cattle and dairy products are very important part of the Arizonan economy and agriculture. Cattle and calves bring about 25 percent of the farm receipt and milk and dairy product accounts for another 17%. There are more than 17000 milk yielding cows in Arizona each which produces almost thousand five hundred pounds of milk every month. The number of hens in the state crosses 1,600.000 and each year more than 5 billion eggs are produced in total. The cattle and calves produce around 386 million pounds of beef every year and there are also hundreds of thousands of lambs, sheep and hogs in the state used for milk, meat and fur.
Arizona Agricultural Statistics
Top Commodities, Exports, and Counties
Top 5 Agriculture Commodities, 2006
  Value of Receipts Thousand $ Percent of State Total
Farm Receipts
Percent of US Value
1. Cattle and calves 737,453 25.6 1.5
2. Dairy products 504,448 17.5 2.2
3. Lettuce 388,929 13.5 19.4
4. Cotton 169,900 5.9 2.8
5. Hay 143,674 5.0 2.9
All commodities 2,879,224   1.2


Top 5 Agriculture Exports, Estimates, FY 2006
  Rank Among States Value Million $
1. Cotton and linters 11 122.5
2. Vegetables and preparations 10 105.0
3. Dairy products 13 39.7
4. Other 27 39.6
5. Fruits and preparations 9 39.3
Overall rank 33 520.2