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Livestock Farming

The Short History of Livestock Farming in Arizona

Prior to settlement, cattle and livestock didn’t really exist in Arizona. There was wild fauna but no one had generated anything in the way of domesticated livestock for the purposes of food business and farming. The first cattle-raising and livestock farming in the state’s territory began 300 years ago when the Spanish missions were established and the Spaniards started to institute livestock farming with local indigenous tribes. This continued on a small-scale size in close proximity to the missions until the Civil War closed. At that point, over-use of Texas land pushed additional settlers towards Arizona who were looking for new space to use for cattle. This was the true beginning of Arizona’s cattle-ranching industry. In addition, the mining industry started growing exponentially, creating a built-in demand for high protein food supply and lots of hungry customers with money to pay for their meals. The expansion of railroad allowed ranchers to connect their goods with markets far away, and ranching grew even larger with greater demand overall. By 1890 some 1.5 million heads of cattle were alive and kicking in Arizona as part of the same market. Today, that same industry represents over $540 million in beef and cattle product exports. And that same industry is protected by generations of the 

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