Agribusiness: Both Sides Of The Coin



Agriculture in Arizona contributes more than $23 billion to the state’s economy and directly and indirectly supports more than 138,000 full and part-time jobs. Like the State of Arizona, the City of Maricopa’s rich history is deeply rooted in agriculture, with the community’s earliest settlers converting raw desert land into fertile soils for growing cotton, wheat, barley and other crops.

Maricopa is home to a thriving and diverse cluster of agriculture technology businesses and research facilities, including state universities, federal research centers and established and emerging companies utilizing intelligent crop science to produce food and clean technology products.

The USDA Arid Land Agricultural Research Center (ALARC) and the University of Arizona, Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) are two such facilities. In addition to these distinguished research institutions, Maricopa is home to well-established and successful agriculture firms, such as Arizona Grain, a supplier of high-quality products to customers in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The USDA ALARC is a 20-acre federal research facility whose mission is to develop sustainable agricultural systems, protect natural resources and support rural communities in arid and semi-arid regions through interdisciplinary research. Research topics include crop and soil management, integrated pest management, insect and plant molecular biology, irrigation technology, remote and proximal sensing for crop production and improvement, water reuse, crop breeding and physiology, and resilience to global climate change.

Recent research focus includes using proximal sensing based high-throughput phenotyping to accelerate the development of crops with improved tolerance to heat stress and drought, developing new industrial crops, such as guayule; development and testing of new irrigation technologies for improved water use efficiency; reuse of reclaimed water for agriculture; gene discovery to identify new targets for pest control application; and the development of integrated pest management systems for major pests of cotton and other arid-land crops.

The Maricopa Agricultural Center (MAC) is a 2,100-acre research site within the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences for the University of Arizona. MAC’s mission is to develop and deliver innovative solutions to challenges facing Arizona consumers and agricultural producers. Focus areas include food safety, irrigation and water quality, conservation, pest management, precision agriculture, crop phenotyping and breeding. The Center serves as a hub for industry collaboration, and home for many cooperative extension initiatives across the State. Popular outreach programs include Ag-Ventures, Ag-Literacy for all age groups, Maricopa 4-H and Pinal County Master Gardeners.

As example, the development of new field integrated pest management (IPM) solutions at MAC have saved cotton growers in Arizona more than $5 million over the last 22 years. These innovative approaches are now being applied to other U.S. farming regions and in Mexico, Australia and Brazil. Much of the research is conducted collaboratively between ALARC and MAC, along with other federal, state and industry groups.

Arizona Grain, Inc. is a privately held company and a steady supplier of high-quality products to customers both locally and internationally. Arizona Grain drives agricultural efficiency through logistics, market knowledge and superior genetics. With expert staff, Arizona Grain works diligently to provide top-tier offerings for animal feed, seed genetics, cereal grain marketing and food ingredients. In addition, Arizona Grain developed a Quality and Food Safety Assurance Program in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations within the Food Safety and Modernization Act.

Research facilities, agriculture technology firms and farming operations flourish in Maricopa. Among the many contributing factors for this thriving sector are the city’s abundant land and water resources for crop testing under unique environmental conditions. Agriculture is a careful steward of both the land and the water needed to produce crops. Modern technology helps farmers and ranchers use what they need and no more. Water is conserved and less is applied to the fields through drip and other variable flow methods.

Maricopa has a forward-thinking focus on research in both agribusiness and agriculture technology. For companies seeking a community where business, government, education and citizens care for and value each other and where big city life is a just short drive away, Maricopa, AZ is a pro-business community ideally located for exceptional prospects to thrive.

We invite you to learn more about the unique opportunities for agribusiness and agriculture technology in Maricopa. Visit or call (520) 424-1216.

[This section was written by Steve Naranjo, Center Director USDA-ARS, Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center; Malcolm Green, Director University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center; and Eric Wilkey, President Arizona Grain, Inc.]

Reposted from Business Facilities.