Arizona’s 5 C’s

Can you name Arizona’s five C’s? Or, are you wondering what the heck is it to which I’m referring? The few Arizona natives that exist recall learning them in school but, I swear, always forget the easiest (and what should be the most memorable) one of them all.

Arizona’s 5 C’s are Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton, and Climate.  I don’t know how people can forget about climate being one of them, but they do.  Go ahead– ask someone if they know them all and watch them immediately name the first four and struggle to recall climate.  Maybe it’s because it’s the only item in the list that’s not tangible or maybe it’s because we take our climate for granted.

In any case, why am I blogging about Arizona’s 5 C’s?  We’ve started a new section on the blog dedicated to the history and random tidbits about AZ to provide a bit of fun info on the state that we love so much over here at Copper & Cacti.

The five C’s played a critical role in the early days of Arizona and contributed greatly to the economy back then.  Numerous jobs were held in agriculture, ranching, and mining.  In fact–another interesting tidbit–Yuma, Arizona is considered the lettuce capital of the world and continues to thrive in Arizona’s agriculture scene. (Yes, there is an agriculture scene. UofA even has an agriculture program.)


Back to the 5 C’s that Arizona proudly proclaims.


We’re fond of this one if you can’t tell by our blog name!  Copper has been a favorite mining resource since Arizona’s early days.  Native Americans used several different precious metals, including copper, to make jewelry, tools, weapons, and more.  Copper is still mined in Arizona for things like wires, coins, and pipes.


Cattle is one of the C’s that isn’t as relevant in contributing to Arizona’s economy as it used to be.  According to the Secretary of State’s website, back in 1918 Arizona had 1.75 million cattle actively providing beef to our nation.  This number has decreased by half with beef exports to other nations now taking place.  Although, if you’ve ever driven to Yuma you’d be hard-pressed to believe this.  Sometimes when the wind is blowing, and the cattle are out it is not enough to just have your windows rolled up.  You’d better hold your breath until you’re clear out of the area.  Who else feels me on this one?!



This is probably the easiest to remember because every winter, Arizonans are giving away free citrus to anyone who will listen.  Personally, we’ve got three citrus trees: oranges, pink grapefruits, and lemons.  In an abundant year, our orange and grapefruit trees probably each produce at least 500 pieces of citrus.  Our lemon tree is newer (and in its third year of producing), and we’ve got about 200 lemons.  Imagine a whole state like this!  How on earth did Arizona become a place that grows citrus so well?  Irrigation efforts in the 1860’s (including reconstruction of the Hohokam Canals) made it possible to grow citrus in the harsh desert terrain.  To this day, food banks, including St. Mary’s Food Bank, collect between 3-4 million pounds of citrus each year.  They give out what they can while it’s fresh and juice the rest to hand out during the remainder of the year.  Citrus continues to help Arizona communities to this day and still plays a vital role.  If you apply early enough, St. Mary’s will even glean your trees for you for a small fee.


In the early 1900’s, cotton was king in Arizona.  Farmers began growing Pima long-staple cotton for use in items like clothing, fertilizer, paper, cardboard, and more.   It became a cash cow for farmers during this timeframe, leading to its role as a steadfast crop in Arizona.  In fact, Arizona is still one of the leading states in the cotton-growing industry and an entire organization exists dedicated to it: the Arizona Cotton Growers Association.


How people forget this one is beyond me!  It’s the most attractive one for our state, bringing in tourists (and snowbirds) constantly!  As my husband and I like to say, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine!”  Arizona enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year.  In fact, Arizona is also home to the “sunniest place on earth” and holds the Guinness Book of World Records to prove it.  Yuma, Arizona has sunshine 91% of the time during their daylight hours and only gets approximately 3 inches of rain per year.  This is about 308 days of sunshine per year, on average.  No wonder snowbirds love Arizona!  The golf courses, hiking, biking, horse-riding, and many other outdoor activities are easy to enjoy in such a sunny climate.  Coincidentally, our climate also keeps some people away during the summer because it gets hot from Phoenix down to the border.  But, keep in mind that northern Arizona is not quite as hot and is still a beautiful place to enjoy come summertime.

Hopefully the next time you hear about Arizona’s 5 C’s you’ll be able to spout off all five of them and impress with your newfound knowledge!  😉

Have a great weekend!





Sources:  AZ Secretary of State’s Office &



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