The state's principal crops are cotton, lettuce, cauliflowers, broccoli, and sorghum. Cattle, calves, and dairy goods are, however, the most valuable Arizona farm products. Manufacturing is the leading economic activity, with electronics, printing and publishing, processed foods, and aerospace and transportation leading sectors. High-technology research and development, communications, and service industries are also important, as are construction (the state is rapidly growing) and tourism. Military facilities contributing to Arizona's economy include Fort Huachuca, Luke and Davis-Monthan air force bases, and the Yuma Proving Grounds. Testing and training with military aircraft and desert storage of commercial and military planes are both major undertakings.
Arizona abounds in minerals. Copper is the state's most valuable mineral; Arizona leads the nation in production. Other leading resources are molybdenum, sand, gravel, and cement.
The mountains in the north and central regions have 3,180,000 acres (1,286,900 hectares) of commercial forests, chiefly ponderosa pines and other firs, which support lumber and building-materials industries. The U.S. government owns about 95% of the commercial forests in the state. National and state forests attract millions of tourists yearly. Tourism centers in the N on the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, meteor craters, ancient Native American ruins, and the Navajo and Hopi reservations that cover nearly all of the state's northeast quadrant. SE Arizona's warm, dry climate and Spanish colonial ruins also attract a large tourist trade, as do golf courses and other leisure facilities.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.