For decades, cotton was a staple crop in Arizona. Pima cotton in particular, with its extra-long staple (ELS) fibers, revolutionized the industry in 1910. Its hardiness in a hot climate opened central and southern Arizona to an agriculture boom.
Maricopa became part of Pinal County’s major cotton production, with ranch owners bringing in seasonal workers from as far away as Oklahoma City to work the fields. Pinal County remains Arizona’s top producer, with about 85,000 acres of cotton.
Find out how cotton became one of Arizona’s five C’s at an Maricopa Historical Society event.
Julie Murphree, outreach director for Arizona Farm Bureau, will talk about the history and importance of the cotton industry in a presentation May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in Maricopa Public Library. She will also address what’s new in cotton, which started a bit of a comeback a decade ago.
Murphree, a native of Arizona, grew up on a cotton and alfalfa farm with three brothers. She partnered with her parents, Pat and Pennee Murphree, through 2005 in a cotton, wheat and alfalfa farm. Because of her love for agriculture and country life, she wrote a book called “Fresh Air.”
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Arizona State University in addition to a management certificate in strategic sourcing and supply chain management from the University of North Carolina. She also graduated from a concentrated two-year leadership program, Project CENTRL, sponsored by the University of Arizona.
The community is invited to attend the presentation, which is free.
This story appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.