People, cows changing face of Arizona agriculture

US - When neighbors Wilford Hayden and Bruce Heiden look down the road from their farming operations in Buckeye, Ariz., they can see two dairy operations. One of the dairies milks 7,000 cows; the other, 6,000.
calendar icon 23 January 2007
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It hasn’t always been like this for the two farmers and their neighbors. When Hayden’s family moved its farming operation to Buckeye from the Scottsdale area in 1959, most of what they saw was cotton fields and cotton gins.

The dairies aren’t the only sights that are changing the central Arizona landscape. Farmers throughout the region have seen new residential and commercial complexes spring up all around them as the population of the Phoenix metropolitan area continues to swell.

“When we moved here in 1959, I never expected to see this,” said Hayden, referring to the growing number of homes and businesses encroaching into traditional farming areas. Wilford grows cotton, alfalfa and grain crops with his brother Paul.

“There are only three gins left west of Central Avenue in Phoenix,” says Heiden, who operates H-Four Farms just outside Buckeye and Paloma Gin Properties, LLC. “There used to be 15.”

Hayden, whose great-grandparents came to Arizona from Virginia in 1889, farms 1,200 acres of alfalfa, cotton and grain. The proximity of the dairies to his and his brother’s farming operation has made alfalfa an increasingly important crop.

Source: Western Farm Press

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