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USDA: Arizona Farmers Brought In $4.1 Billion In 2016

Agriculture remains big business in the state as farmers brought in billions of dollars last  year.

Arizona ranked 6th in the 11 Western states for farm cash receipts, or total amount of money paid to farmers for their crops.

California topped the U.S. Department of Agriculture data, but Arizona Farm Bureau spokeswoman Julie Murphree said Arizona contributes most in the winter.

“Even though we may look like we’re smack dab in the middle, I would contend we play a significant role in the winter, in Yuma, [with] all of our leafy green production,” she said.

Arizona farmers brought in $4.1 billion in cash last year. Murphree said that shows Arizona is a major player when it comes to agriculture.

“And you see that $4 billion in cash receipts, it’s pretty exciting to recognize that this desert state has a significant contribution in the agriculture area," said Murphree.

The state came ahead of New Mexico, Utah and Nevada.

Murphree said the data, which measures the total cash receipts in agriculture, gives a good indication of the strength of farming in the state.

“It’s one of my favorite numbers because it’s kind of the baseline. It’s aggregating the core value of the accumulated agriculture for this latest cycle,“ she said.

The billions of dollars farmers brought in last year is slightly lower than the year before. Murphree said while conventional farming like cotton and wheat stayed steady, the wine and nut tree sectors in the state's agriculture are seeing more growth.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.