CALS Alum and Faculty Featured in "The Five Cs: A Century Later"

(Graphic by Arizona Public Media)
(Graphic by Arizona Public Media)

Southern Arizona's economy was founded on the 5 Cs: Cattle, Cotton, Copper, Citrus and Climate. Now are these 'pillars' of Arizona's economy still viable 101 years after statehood? Are they still the state’s top money-makers? What has changed? CALS alumnus Ron Rayner (Agricultural Education, 1964) and John Marchello, professor of animal sciences, are featured in this half-hour special Arizona Public Media radio feature which looks at the past, present and future of the Five Cs, and includes interviews with ranchers, citrus and cotton farmers, climatologists, and mining advocates and opponents.

Join AZPM news reporters as they explore the history and current condition of each of the Cs and where they may be headed in Arizona's second century. The program is produced and narrated by AZPM’s Mark Duggan, with production contributions from Fernanda Echavarri, Steve Shadley, and former AZPM news reporter, Robert Rappaport. Originally airing on February 8, you can still listen to the complete program – as well as some special web features – at the link below.

They're not often visible from the main roadways, but Arizona is full of cattle ranches and feed lots. Arizona ranchers produce 386 million pounds of pounds of beef annually. Take a closer look at Arizona ranchers and the business of beef, which is often a family affair going back generations.

Arizona is still part of what's known as “The Cotton Belt.” The state currently has about 259,000 acres devoted to farming it. But it's not easy to grow cotton in the desert. Meet third-generation farmer Ron Rayner at his cotton gin in Buckeye, Arizona. He talks about the challenges of growing cotton and how technology has changed the business.

Citrus production in Arizona is much lower than it used to be, but the state is still the nation's second-leading producer of lemons. Meet long-time citrus grower DeWayne Justice in Waddell, Arizona. He speaks of the challenges of operating an orchard as it becomes surrounded by metropolitan Phoenix.

Arizona's temperate environment, perfect for agriculture, is also great for tourism. Air conditioning, swimming pools and resorts all helped to “tame” the desert. But there are some dark clouds building in our sunny skies. State climatologist Nancy Selover discusses how ongoing drought could affect Arizona's economy.

Arizona is the nation's top copper producer, exporting more of the metal than the other 49 states combined. It is why Arizona is called “The Copper State.” But some argue that copper is no longer a major contributor to Arizona's economy and that it threatens the state’s climate. Explore the history of mining in the state and meet supporters and opponents of efforts to build more mines.

Date released: 
Feb 11 2013
Sue DeBenedette