When agricultural questions arise, we turn to the experts at Arizona Farm Bureau. With water being such a hot topic these days, the spotlight has turned toward the agricultural industry: What are farmers doing to conserve water? Why do we grow alfalfa, cotton, and other “thirsty crops” in the desert? We answer these questions and more with Julie Murphree of the Arizona Farm Bureau and special guest Nicholas Kenny, an Agricultural Consultant. Tune-in to our podcast below to hear the conversation!
Not only does Arizona agriculture represent a $23.3 billion economic contribution, but the industry has also decreased water usage per acre. They produce better quality and greater quantity with less thanks to innovative technologies and increased efficiencies.
Arizona uses the same amount of water today as it did in 1957. It is quite a success story, and agriculture’s conservation efforts play a large part.
What are farmers doing to conserve water?
The short answer: everything they can! Farmers are well aware that water is their most precious resource. To make sure that they don’t waste a single drop, they have invested millions of dollars in technology like drip irrigation, sprinkler systems, laser-leveling, and soil monitors to make sure water goes where it needs to go, precisely when it needs to go there.
Why do we grow alfalfa, cotton, and other “thirsty crops” in the desert?
The short answer: because we can get the most crop per drop! Sustainability is a nation-wide conversation. It is crucial that we grow what we need in the places that grow it the best; places where we get the most crop per drop.
Arizona’s sunny days and rich soils make it the ideal climate for growing crops like cotton and alfalfa. The proof is in the numbers:
- Arizona cotton crops average nearly 1500 pounds of cotton lint per acre, in comparison with a national average of just over 900 pounds per acre.
- Alfalfa in Arizona can produce more than 8.5 tons per acre, compared with a nation-wide average production of around 3.2 tons per acre.
To replicate Arizona’s production of these key crops outside of our state, it will take more land, more water, more fuel, and more of every other resource that’s necessary to produce a quality crop.
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Water is a hot topic in Arizona. The reliance of Arizona agriculture is paramount to food production for the country and beyond. Facing a long term drought we ask: What are farmers doing to conserve water? Why do we grow alfalfa, cotton, and other “thirsty crops” in the desert? We answer these questions and more with Julie Murphree of the Arizona Farm Bureau and very special guest Agriculture Consultant Nicholas Kenny.
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