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Leafy Green Vegetables: A Multibillion-Dollar Industry In Arizona

A recent report released by The University of Arizona looked at the importance of leafy green production as a major contributor to agribusiness sales in the state.

Mark Killian, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, said the economic impact is sizeable.

“In Yuma, from November to May, it produces ninety percent of the leafy green vegetables for America and it’s almost a $4 billion impact in the state’s economy," he said.

Killian also said produce such as cantaloupe is a cash crop with at least one company in Pinal County shipping 300,000 semi loads of cantaloupes all over the United States every year.

There are numerous factors that make the state attractive for agribusiness, but the main plus according to Killian is the health of the water.

“Back in 1980, we enacted the groundwater management code which was the standard for the entire United States on how to manage your groundwater and take care of it," said Killian. "Plus the CAP bringing water in from the Colorado River and the Water Banking Authority and then you layer on top of that the Groundwater Quality Management Act that protects that quality of groundwater from pollutants, Arizona’s been on the leading edge of that.”

The report is based on data collected between 2014 and 2015.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.