economy

Top UN official admits climate change is about transforming world economy

It’s about the money, and power, not the climate. According to a press release from the United Nations Regional Information Center, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that “the fight against climate change is a process and that the necessary transformation of the world economy will not be decided at one conference or in one agreement.”

Figueres went on to say, “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history….This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”

That “economic development system” Figueres talks about is capitalism. The UN is attempting to transform that to global socialism governed by the United Nations.

In a previous article (Enviros are watermelons) (see here also) I noted that the conclusion of a meeting of environmental groups last year in Venezuela proclaimed “we must end capitalism to save the world from global warming. The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system.”

In a series of conferences over the past few years, the UN has been trying to get signatories to a legally binding treaty on climate change in which countries promise to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and western countries agree to pay huge sums to developing countries (through the sticky fingers of UN officials) to save those developing countries from the imagined ravages of global warming.

“Figueres, however, pointed out that the legal treaty is only one of four important parts of the process. In addition to the treaty, there are the current Climate Change actions from now and until 2020, the financing packages and the so-called Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are the actions that countries intend to take under a global agreement from 2020 and have to be publicly outlined… It is expected that all major economies will deliver their plans in time: the US, China, and the European Union have already shown their cards.”

Figueres praised President Obama’s stance on climate change and Obama’s gift of $3 billion to the UN Climate Fund.

A post at Western Journalism opines:

“Capitalism has been the primary economic model of the west since the industrial revolution. Therefore, the only logical conclusion, based on her [Figueres] stated objective, is the eradication of capitalism and free market economics, to be replaced with a model based on monetary redistribution. This we know by the redistribution calculations being developed by the UN’s IPCC for developed nations to pay ‘reparations’ and ‘carbon offsets’ to poorer countries based on carbon dioxide emissions.”

This goal of economic transformation is hardly a secret. Back in 2010, Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, explicitly affirmed the economic objective:“Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection…One must say clearly that we redistribute the world’s wealth by climate policy…”

WSJ: “It would appear that the entrenched prevalent ideology of the UN has found a new way to fundamentally transform the world with the visage of Marx.”

END

Importance of Copper to manufacturing and us

Copper is vital to our civilization. It is used in many things we may take for granted. Below is an infographic from the National Mining Association showing how copper is used and where it is mined in the United States (you can get the graphic here).

copper final

You can also get a new report “U.S. Mines to Market” which shows the importance of mining to the manufacturing segment of our economy.

Among other things, the report discusses:

In 2013, value added to gross domestic product (GDP) by major American industries that consume processed mineral materials was $2.4 trillion, or 14 percent of total GDP.

As the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to grow, the importance of a secure, stable, reliable and sustainable raw material supply is increasing.

The U.S. permitting process for new mineral and metal mines makes it difficult for our nation to reduce dependence on foreign-sourced raw materials. As it stands, the average waiting period for U.S. mine permitting is seven to ten years. Just to put that into perspective, in Canada and Australia—countries with similarly stringent environmental regulations—the waiting period is two years.

In regard the that last point, see my posts:

If it can’t be grown, it has to be mined

Minerals vital to modern life

How NEPA crushes productivity

Mining and the bureaucracy

2014 or 1984?

[Note: this is reposted because it was lost in transition from Tucson Citizen]

“May you live in interesting times.”  That phrase, falsely attributed to a Chinese curse, means that “uninteresting times” are periods of peace and tranquility.  2014 will be “interesting” because of the turmoil caused by “Obamacare.”

The administration will try to deflect the “Obamacare” issue with class warfare: the issue of “income inequality.”  Much has been written about “income inequality” which is another term for poverty.  Since President Lyndon Johnson began the “War of Poverty” in 1964, the government has spent about $20 trillion in an attempt to solve the problem, apparently with little effect.  Perhaps the solution does not lie with government.

It will be “interesting” to see what our Prevaricator-in-Chief comes up with next.

Thomas Sowell asks, “What kind of man would blithely disrupt the medical care of millions of Americans, and then repeatedly lie to them with glib assurances that they could keep their doctors or health insurance if they wanted to?”

Sowell observes that “What ObamaCare has done … is reduce us all from free citizens to cowed subjects, whom the federal government can order around in our own personal lives, in defiance of the 10th Amendment and all the other protections of our freedom in the Constitution of the United States”.

“ObamaCare is more than a medical problem, though there are predictable medical problems — and even catastrophes — that will unfold in the course of 2014 and beyond. Our betters have now been empowered to run our lives, with whatever combination of arrogance and incompetence they may have, or however much they lie.”  (Read Sowell’s complete essay here.)

To continue class warfare and promote income redistribution, the administration will hype “income inequality.”  The Heritage Foundation has a three-part essay on this subject titled “Why Income Inequality Doesn’t Threaten Opportunity.” (link to full article).  It is introduced as follows:

Today, on the Left and on the Right, everyone talks about rebuilding, saving, restoring, defending, or rescuing an American Dream that is slipping, fading, eroding, or vanishing.

The loudest voices, all coming from the Left, fulminate against the top 1 percent of earners and blame an unfair system that allows the rich to line their pockets, leaves the poor in the lurch, and generates spectacular income disparities. To protect the American Dream, these critics call for greater government involvement to make things more equal and ensure that everyone gets their “fair share.”

This gets both the problem and its solution all wrong. Free-market economics is not about dividing up a dwindling pie, but expanding the pie to serve everyone. Those who succeed do not do so at the expense of others.

Those who focus on income inequality have embraced a very different American Dream from the one that is familiar to most Americans. They still use the traditional language of opportunity, but their new dream has very little in common with the real American Dream.

Part I of this report contrasts these two dreams. While the American Dream we all know is about climbing the ladder of opportunity, the new liberal American Dream can best be likened to an escalator of results—everyone hops on and moves up without effort.

Part II examines the income inequality argument and shows how the recent rise in income disparities has not caused a decline in upward mobility. Standards of living have increased for everyone—as have incomes—and mobility, however one measures it, remains robust. Simply put, how much the top 1 percent of the population earns has no bearing on whether the bottom 20 percent can move up.

Part III provides an overview of the six factors that most seriously threaten the American Dream:

The suffocating web of regulation and laws that flow from the limitless state and restrict opportunity;

The collapse of the family and the devastating, long-lasting consequences that it has on children;

The dependence fostered by the welfare state;

The erosion of our culture of work and the rise of a slacker culture that disparages hard work and celebrates indolence;

The failures of the public education system that deny countless children the rudimentary skills they need to move ahead in life;

and The looming fiscal crisis that has already saddled the next generation with an unconscionable level of debt.

To accomplish the transformation of the American Dream, we need some brainwashing and what better method than to change the American educational system.  John Stossel has some comments on the Common Core educational standards (link to article).

[W]hen the federal government imposes a single teaching plan on 15,000 school districts across the country, that’s even more central planning, and central planning rarely works. It brings stagnation.

Education is a discovery process like any other human endeavor. We might be wrong about both how to teach and what to teach, but we won’t realize it unless we can experiment — compare and contrast the results of different approaches. Having “one plan” makes it harder to experiment and figure out what works.

No Child Left Behind programs were an understandable reaction to atrocious literacy and graduation rates — but since school funding was pegged to students’ performance on federally approved tests, classroom instruction became largely about drilling for those tests and getting the right answers, even if kids did little to develop broader reasoning skills. So along comes Common Core to attempt to fix the problem — and create new ones.

Common Core de-emphasizes correct answers by awarding kids points for reasoning, even when they don’t quite get there.

Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies. For consumers, this is not a good thing.

With the future riding on young people consuming better forms of education, I’d rather leave parents and children (and educators) multiple choices.

Mark Twain once said: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

In addition to the issues above, we will be contending with a rogue EPA, Obama’s war on coal and his naive or nefarious climate action plan.

Welcome to 2014, we will live in “interesting times.”

This article was originally published at the Arizona Daily Independent.

See also (links updated):

The dark side of Common Core Standards for education

Common Core Arithmetic – harder than it needs to be

The Collectivist Mind

Atlantic off-shore drilling could boost economy by $23 billion

Fuel Fix, a blog of the Houston Chronicle reports that an industry study says that drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf off the east coast of the U.S. between 2017 and 2035 could:

Create nearly 280,000 new jobs along the East Coast and across the country.

Result in an additional $195 billion in new private investment.

Contribute up to $23.5 billion per year to the U.S. economy.

Add 1.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day to domestic energy production.

Generate $51 billion in new revenue for the government.

“The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management soon will begin the long process of developing a schedule for selling outer continental shelf drilling leases from Aug. 27, 2017 through mid-2022 – and the oil industry wants to make sure the Atlantic acreage isn’t left out.”

Although this area is technically open for exploration and development, the feds have not scheduled any leases, which is a necessary first step.  Leasing activity in the area has been inactive since the early 1980s.  The Obama administration withdrew a scheduled lease sale for the Mid-Atlantic area in 2011.

OCS-planning-area

The United States has recently experienced a boom in oil and gas production, but that has occurred almost exclusively on private and state lands. Federal land has been largely closed due to the policies of several administrations.

See also:

Open federal land to energy exploration and development to boost economy

The value of mining in Arizona

Without minerals, we would not have electricity, food, or shelter. Minerals make today’s technology-based life possible, but that’s something many of us take for granted. We want the benefits from those minerals, but some want mining of minerals to be in somebody else’s neighborhood.  The importance of mining has long been recognized:

If we remove metals from the service of man, all methods of protecting and sustaining health and more carefully preserving the course of life are done away with.  If there were no metals, men would pass a horrible and wretched existence in the midst of wild beasts…  -Georgius Agricola, in De Re Metallica, 1556.

For Arizona, it is not just metals.  Arizona produces sand and gravel, limestone for cement production, coal for electrical generation, and a variety of industrial minerals which contribute almost $2 billion to Arizona’s economy (see here).

Arizona has a long history of mining.  There is archeological evidence that cinnabar, coal, turquoise, clay, pigments, and other minerals were mined in Arizona beginning at least 3,000 years ago. (See A History of Mining in AZ by the Arizona Mining Association.)

According to the Arizona Mining Association, Arizona currently produces 68% of domestically mined copper.  With that copper production comes by-product molybdenum, gold, silver, platinum, and rhenium.  Incidentally, The Sierrita Mine south of Tucson is currently the onlydomestic producerof rhenium, a metal used in high-temperature, super-alloy turbine blades for jet aircraft and other land-based turbines.  The Sierrita plant processes output from other mines on a toll basis. It may soon be joined by a second rhenium plant at the Kennecott (Rio Tinto) mine in Utah.

The direct and indirect economic impact of copper mining on Arizona’s economy is about $4.6 billion annually.  That includes $3.2 billion in personal income,  $500 million in state and local government revenues, and 49,800 high-paying jobs for Arizonans. Average labor income of mining company employees (including benefits) is $108,000 per worker vs. $47,000 for all Arizona workers.  If we add in non-metallic, non-fuel, minerals, then Arizona produced about $8 billion worth of mineral products in 2012 according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  Arizona ranks second, after Nevada, in value of total mineral production.  The U.S. total value of mineral production was about $76 billion which supported more than 1.2 million jobs in 2012.

Arizona is endowed with great mineral resources as shown on the map below prepared by the Arizona Geological Survey.

mineralmap

Currently ASARCO and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold are the two biggest copper producers in the state.  ASARCO operates three mines and a smelter. According to the Southern Arizona Business Coalition, in 2012 ASARCO paid wages and benefits of $215.8 million, property, severance, and sales taxes of $47.2 million, and employed 2,198 people in Arizona. Freeport operates mines in Safford, Morenci, Bagdad, Miami, and Sierrita.  They paid wages and operational spending of $860 million in 2012, taxes of $274 million while employing 7,600 people directly and indirectly employing an additional 30,000 people.

In addition to past and current mining, there are many projects on the horizon, some in the exploratory stage, others navigating the byzantine regulatory permitting process.  (See my posts: Mining and the bureaucracy and How NEPA crushes productivity)

Perhaps the largest project is that of Resolution Copper near the town of Superior just west of the famed Globe-Miami mining district and just north of ASARCO’s Ray mine.  This is a bold undertaking because the orebody is 7,000 feet below the surface.  Resolution says that at peak production, this mine will be the largest copper mine in North America, producing over one billion pounds of copper per year.  Resolution estimates that over the 64-year life of the mine, the project will generate $61.4 billion in economic value, provide $20 billion in tax revenues, and provide 3,700 permanent jobs.

The Rosemont copper mine south of Tucson is nearing the end of its long journey through the regulatory maze, and mine construction may begin early next year.  This mine will generate 2,900 Arizona jobs and inject $19 billion into Arizona’s economy and pay $404 million in local taxes over its 20-year projected life.  The mine expects to produce 243 million pounds of copper per year.

Curis Resources is developing an in-situ copper mine near Florence, Arizona.  In this project, instead of mining rock, Curis Resources “seeks to dissolve copper minerals from an underground deposit by introducing water with a lowered-pH (making it slightly acidic).This low-PH, water-based solution dissolves the copper and allows it to be pumped to the surface through a continuous loop water treatment system.”  This deposit, lying 400-to 1200 feet below the surface contains approximately 2.84 billion pounds of copper.

Curis estimates that over the projected 28-year life of the project, it will generate $2.2 billion in economic activity for the state of Arizona, $1.1 billion in economic activity for Pinal County, $325 million in taxes and royalties for Arizona government, and $1.46 billion in increased personal income in Arizona, 170 direct jobs at the project site in Florence, and 681 jobs in the state of Arizona.

TheI-10 copper deposit, located along Interstate 10 between Benson and Willcox, Arizona, is being investigated as another in-situ copper leaching project by  Excelsior Mining Corporation, a Canadian junior company. They estimate the deposit currently contains an indicated oxide copper resource of 3.21 billion pounds and an additional inferred oxide copper resource of 0.88 billion pounds.

Wildcat Silver Corporation is in the exploration stage of its Hermosa Project which is evaluating the silver-manganese potential in the historic Hardshell mining district near Patagonia in Southern Arizona. Their preliminary economic assessment estimates a measured and indicated resource of 236 million ounces of silver and an inferred silver resource of an additional 79 million ounces.  Project life is estimated at 16 years.  Wildcat estimates that annual production will be 4.1 million ounces of silver, 233,000 tons of manganese carbonate, 20,187 tons of zinc cathode, and 960 tons of copper.

Copper Creek is an old mining district located on the east bank of the San Pedro River and on the western slope of the Galiuro Mountains about 75 miles northeast of Tucson. The property has been acquired by Redhawk Resources, a Canadian junior mining company that plans to develop an underground mine for copper, molybdenum, and silver.  Redhawk estimates a resource of 7.75 billion pounds of copper, 150 million pounds of molybdenum, and 32 million ounces of silver.

The Oracle Ridge mine is a small, underground copper mine in the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson. The mine was operated intermittently, most recently from 1991-1996. The mine is being developed by a junior Canadian mining company, Oracle Ridge Copper (project website).  The company anticipates employing about 200 people to run the mine which has a projected life of 11 years. The mine will produce 140 tons of concentrate (about 30% copper) a day which will be trucked off the mountain and transported to a smelter.

In northern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon are over 1,300 known or suspected breccia pipes many of which contain uranium oxide as well as sulfides of copper, zinc, silver, and other metals. According to the Arizona Geological Survey, “Total breccia-pipe uranium production as of Dec. 31, 2010, has been more than 10,700 metric tons (23.5 million pounds) from nine underground mines, eight of which are north of Grand Canyon near Kanab Creek.”  This area is mired in fears of contamination of the Colorado River (see Uranium mining and its potential impact on Colorado River water) and a 20-year, million-acre mineral entry withdrawal by the Department of the Interior.

In northeastern Arizona there is potential for a major potash deposit. American West Potash has recently delineated, a considerable resource estimated at  158 million metric tons of sylvinite (a mixture of sodium and potassium chloride, not to be confused with sylvanite, a gold telluride), with about 16 million metric tonnes of K2O; and inferred resources of 560 million metric tonnes of sylvinite with just over 66 million metric tons of K2O in the Holbrook Basin, about 30 miles east of Holbrook, Arizona.

The Holbrook Basin area also holds potential for helium and shale oil resources.

Arizona currently has three producing gold mines and several other prospects being actively explored for gold (see here).

“In 2011, the state of Arizona led the United States in the production of gemstones. Arizona has long been famous as a producer of turquoise, peridot and petrified wood. Gemstones such as azurite, chrysocolla and malachite are associated with the Arizona’s many copper deposits and have a long history of being produced there. Agate, amethyst, garnet, jade, jasper, obsidian, onyx, and opal have all been found in Arizona and used to make gems.” – Geology.com

As you can see, besides currently producing mines, Arizona holds future potential that will add jobs and economic value to the local, state, and national economy – if they can get through the bureaucratic regulatory maze.

Remember, the value of mining is not just the money, it is in providing the products we need to keep our civilization going.  If it can’t be grown, it has to be mined.

Grijalva’s anti-jobs bills

Southern Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, friend to the pygmy owl and illegal immigration, who a few years ago encouraged businesses to boycott Arizona, is continuing his anti-mining, anti-jobs, anti-Arizona economy stance with introduction of several bills to Congress.

The “Southern Arizona Public Lands Protection Act of 2013” H.R. 1183, proposes to ban new mining claims.  The Act will, subject to valid existing rights, withdraw “all forms of entry, appropriation, and disposal under the public land laws; location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and operation of the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws, and the mineral materials laws” on all National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties. Grijalva has introduced similar bills every year since 2007.  This will preclude all new mineral exploration in Southern Arizona.

Southern Arizona is mineral rich with several operating mines, soon to be operating mines, and very good country for mineral exploration.

So-AZ-copper-resources

Arizona mining directly employs 11,300 people, who earned $1.22 billion in 2011. Arizona mining companies spent a total of $2.80 billion in 2011 purchasing goods and services from other Arizona businesses which supported an addition 8,700 jobs. In 2011, the mining companies themselves paid $212 million in business taxes to Arizona governments. Employees of mining companies are estimated to have paid $96 million in individual taxes.

Grijalva states concern about our “valuable natural heritage” but seems to ignore the fact that mining is part of that heritage.

Mr. Grijalva notes on his website that he is against a land exchange that Resolution Copper is seeking with the Forest Service to enable Resolution to develop a copper mine near Superior, Arizona. The proposed underground copper mine could supply 30% of America’s copper needs and bring $1 billion per year to the state’s economy for 60 years. In the land exchange, Resolution Copper would get 2,422 acres from the Forest Service in exchange for 5,344 acres of environmentally sensitive land.

Grijalva’s “Grand Canyon Watershed Protection Act” would make permanent the “temporary” withdrawal (for 20 years) of one million acres near the Grand Canyon to prevent uranium mining.  Uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau near the Grand Canyon poses no danger to the Colorado River water quality according to several studies. (See: Uranium mining and its potential impact on Colorado River water)

The “Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Act” would establish a 3,325 acre National Heritage Area in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties which could have adverse affects on private property.

For a long time, Mr. Grijalva has been a tool of the environmental industry to the detriment of his constituents, their jobs, their safety, and the Arizona economy. He has supported establishment of wilderness areas along the Mexican border which would interfere with the Border Patrol’s ability to monitor the border.

As one of Mr. Grijalva’s constituents, I urge him to show more concern for people and their economic environment.

See also:

Our unsecured border – causes and consequences

The sequester fluster

The sky is falling and we are all doomed because the federal government is being forced to cut spending by one percent.

The mainstream media are all atwitter at this “evisceration” of government programs. They are trying to scare us with the specter of vital programs disappearing or being drastically cut rather than suggesting ways to eliminate waste and wasteful programs. Mostly the sequester is a phantom menace, a manufactured crisis (See here, here, here).

The blame game is in full swing with the administration trying to pin the sequester on Congress and those nasty Republicans while ignoring the fact that the sequester idea came from the White House (see Bob Woodward’s article here).

That being said, there is, nevertheless, a real problem: ever growing federal spending – spending money we don’t have. This is put in perspective by statistician William M. Briggs with the following graph (the two blips are the world wars). See Briggs’ explanatory text here. This amount of spending is ultimately unsustainable and the bubble will burst.

Open federal land to energy exploration and development to boost economy

The United States has recently experienced a boom in oil and gas production, but that has occurred almost exclusively on private and state lands. Federal land has been largely closed due to the policies of several administrations.

The American Energy Alliance has a new report “Beyond the Congressional Budget Office” which shows the potential of a more enlightened federal policy in energy development. Here is the executive summary:

While headlines have reported a boom in US oil and gas production, that boom has been related almost exclusively to exploration and development on private and state lands and waters. Even that limited expansion has had profound effects. Opening up Federal resources — in addition to private and state resources — to exploration and development can accelerate all of those trends. But recent administrations have yet to follow through on promises to allow access to Federal resources, instead proposing to levy increased taxes on oil and gas production.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), at the request of the House Budget Committee, recentlyreleased an analysis of lease revenues that could be expected to arise from a proposal to open Federal lands and waters to oil and gas leasing (the “CBO Assessment”). Specifically, the proposal aims to open areas that are statutorily or as a matter of administration policy prohibited from leasing. The issue has repeatedly been a hot-button political and economic issue in the last several years, most recently at the beginning of the Obama administration and then again as Republican challengers in the 2012 election placed opening the lands and waters at the center of their energy policy.

But while the Administration cannot shy away from exploring the fiscal benefits of opening Federal lands, the CBO study was restricted to analyzing just one component of those benefits: lease revenues. This paper highlights the larger economic effects, including economic growth, wages, jobs, and both federal and state and local tax revenues, of opening Federal lands and waters to oil and gas leasing, relying solely upon the CBO natural resource and oil and gas price

estimates to show these broader economic effects in order to maintain direct comparability with their analysis. This paper also seeks to “complete” the CBO Assessment by taking measurements of output, jobs, wages and tax revenues into consideration.

The findings of this paper demonstrate that opening federal land that is currently closed-off because of statutory or administrative action would lead to broad-based economic stimulus, including increasing GDP, employment, and wages. Specifically:

GDP increase:

• $127 billion annually for the next seven years.

• $450 billion annually in the next thirty years.

• $14.4 trillion cumulative increase in economic activity over the next thirty-seven years.

These estimates include “spill-over” effects, or gains that extend from one location to another location. For example, increased oil production in the Gulf of Mexico might lead to more automobile purchases that would increase economic activity in Michigan. Spillover effects would add an estimated $69 billion annually in the next seven years and $250 billion over thirty years.

Jobs increase:

• 552,000 jobs annually over the next seven years.

• Almost 2 million jobs annually over the next thirty years.

Jobs gains would be felt in high-wage, high-skill employment like health care, education, professional fields, and the arts.

Wage increase:

• $32 billion increase in annual wages over the next seven years.

• $115 billion annually between seven and thirty years.

• $3.7 trillion cumulative increase over thirty-seven years.

Increase in tax revenue:

• $2.7 trillion increase in federal tax revenues over thirty-seven years.

• $1.1 trillion in state and local tax revenues over thirty-seven years.

• $24 billion annual federal tax revenue over the next seven years, $86 billion annually thereafter.

• $10.3 billion annual state and local tax revenue over the next seven years, $35.5 billion annually thereafter.

Read the full report here.

MasterResource also has a three-part series on this subject:

Part I: Expanding “Depletable” Resources

Part II: Coal Issues

Part III: Federal Land Potential

Ranching and agriculture in Arizona, The Arizona Experience

This month, as part of the celebration of Arizona’s centennial, the Arizona Experience website showcases ranching and agriculture, industries that added $10.3 billion to the Arizona economy in 2010.

The Farming and Ranching page provides an overview of the State’s agriculture. This page deals briefly with the water issue and notes that “Crops are thirsty. Agriculture consumes approximately 70% of the state’s water.” The page also notes something that I was unaware of: “dairy is Arizona’s leading agricultural product,” it outsells cotton.

“Yuma is the winter lettuce capital of the world, supplying an estimated 95% of the nation’s head lettuce, leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce along with a cornucopia of seasonal veggies. In fact, Arizona ranks second in the U.S. in head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, cauliflower and broccoli production. Apple growers over the last 5 or 6 years average close to 20 million pounds per year. After rapid growth in the in 1980s, Arizona’s annual pecan harvest is worth $52 million. Total revenues from the agriculture industry are second only to mining.”

Cattle ranching came to Arizona over 300 years ago. Spanish conquistadors grazed cattle in the Huachuca Mountains and the Santa Cruz River valley as early as 1690. Discovery of gold and copper brought people and railroads to Arizona and that resulted in a cattle boom. By the 1890s, about 1.5 million head of cattle roamed Arizona. But that boom soon faded due to overgrazing. Since then, however, cattle growers have learned to be good stewards of the land, because their livelihoods depend on it. Currently, about 870,000 head of cattle are raised on 3,800 Arizona ranches. In 2010, Arizona ranchers produced enough beef to feed 4.6 million Americans. That year, the state’s 391.2 million pounds of beef made a total economic impact of $3.2 billion.

Today, “Many ranchers practice Coordinated Resource Management (CRM), a conservation practice that adjusts grazing and cattle movement to optimize renewal of grasslands, soil, and wildlife habitat. Many cattle graze on U.S. rangelands, about 85 percent of which are unsuitable for crops. Most ranchers work to prevent overgrazing of these areas, as over-grazed land no longer offers food. Ranchers may plant trees for windbreaks, improve plant density and work to decrease invasive plant species, manage overgrowth to prevent fire, or plant cover crops to decrease erosion.”

The cotton page, Cotton Today, notes that “About 900 cotton farms produce an average total of 600,000 bales (but yields vary every year) and supplied approximately $362 million in cash to the state economy in 2011. That’s enough cotton for at least one pair of jeans for every person in the United States.” “Arizona is the birth place for Pima Cotton, a long-fiber variety (known as long staple cotton) named for the Pima Indians who helped cultivate it.” That page also addresses water use and use of insecticides. “Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, but too much pesticide can pollute fields and water sources. The industry is always on its toes in an attempt to stay one step ahead of pests like the boll weevil and the pink worm. One breakthrough came when some cotton seeds were genetically modified to include Bt, a natural insecticide. This cotton actually kills boll weevils trying to feed on it, so farmers spray less.” Another weapon is in a warehouse near Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix which grows about 22 million pink bollworm moths per day. “But there is something special about these moths. A few minutes in a radiation chamber has taken away their ability to reproduce. Of course, the moths don’t know that. When they are released on area cotton farms, they mate with naturally born adults. However, no babies are produced by these moths. The next generation of moths remains at a manageable size, ensuring the next generation of cotton.”

Another resource on the main Arizona Experience page is the Teachers Center. “Teachers can open a lesson plan for 4-12 grade students about local commodities approved by the Arizona Department of Education. Handy guides to seasonal produce and an interactive farmers’ market locator are resources for the classroom.” The Teachers Center also leads to a lesson plan contest where teachers are invited to build and share lesson plans. There are $25,000 in prizes.

 

The Arizona Experience is sponsored in part by the Arizona Geological Survey.