Cattle Call: Grosetas host Summer Agricultural Institute
COTTONWOOD – The Groseta family hosted the 2017 Summer Agriculture Institute tour June 6, with around 40 school teachers from all over the state in attendance.
The educators teach grades of all levels, and visited Andy and Mary Beth Groseta at their W Dart Ranch to learn more about Arizona’s agriculture, where food comes from, and how it is produced.
The family has hosted the tour on and off over the years.
The Summer Agricultural Institute - now in its 27th year - is a cooperative extension of the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The annual interactive five-day tour educates the attendees on food and fiber production in the state, which is then integrated in the classroom.
“In some way, agriculture touched your life today,” said Monica Pastor.
Pastor is an Associate Programmatic Area Agent - Agricultural Literacy and School Garden Food Safety for the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Cooperative Extension.
Pastor - who has been active with the Institute since the beginning – said that if you eat or wear clothes, agriculture has affected you.
“So it’s definitely an industry that is very important, it is the founding of our country, and something that kids can identify with because it impacts them,” she said.
This is the third year in a row that the Institute traveled through northern and central Arizona. Next year, the group intends to tour the Willcox, Pima County, and Tucson area, said Pastor.
Touring W Dart Ranch
Mary Beth and the Yavapai Cowbelles provided lunch to the group on the Grosetas’ lawn. Next, Andy presented a program on cattle ranching in the Verde Valley.
He said cattle ranching provides much commerce in the Verde Valley – a $25 million economic impact each year locally.
The W Dart Ranch, he said, produces beef for 430,000 quarter-pounders each year, and 6,444,000 quarter-pounders every year are produced by cattlemen in the Verde Valley.
“In Arizona, we provide enough beef to feed seven million people. We are self-sufficient to supply our own beef in Arizona,” he said during his presentation.
Andy also talked about what he believes are major issues facing the state’s cattle industry.
He said government regulations which cause “analysis paralysis and litigation gridlock” include the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Waters of the United States, National Environmental Policy Act, federal land management agencies, and a multitude of other federal and state laws.
Andy said environmentalists are another issue. “So-called enviros are really pseudo environmentalists,” he said. “The farmers and ranchers are the true environmentalists and stewards of the land, and have a strong commitment to environmental stewardship,” he added.
Andy said other issues for the cattle industry include animal rights activists, people impact/urbanization and vandalism, and introduction of Mexican wolves on Arizona ranches.
Andy also discussed the history of the ranch.
“We have been in the cattle business for 95 years and we want to leave our ranch a better place for the next generation of ranchers in the Groseta family,” he said.
Of course, no ranch tour would be complete without an up close and personal cattle encounter. Andy led the group to the corrals and introduced the educators to his cows.