The 5 C's

Arizona's Five C's are: Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate.

In the early years of the state, the five C's served an important role in the economy, with many jobs in agriculture, ranching, and mining. The Five C’s represent a modest impact on Arizona’s economy today, but they still play a strong cultural role.


People have been digging for precious metals in Arizona for a long time. Native Americans used gold, silver and copper for tools, weapons, jewelry, and painting pottery. European settlers started seeking Arizona’s rich metals in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By 1863, nearly a quarter of Arizonans were mining for metals. Copper ore is still mined in the state for many different uses, including wire and coins.


In 1918 Arizona had as many as 1.75 million head of cattle providing beef to the nation. Beef exports to other nations, such as Japan, have cut the number of cattle in half. The ranching of hogs and sheep also continues as it has from Arizona's early days.


The growing of cotton became a "cash crop" for Arizona farmers in the 1910s. At that time a new kind of cotton, known as Pima long-staple cotton, started to be grown in the state. Cotton and parts of the plant is used in clothing, for fertilizer, fuel, packing, in paper and cardboard and even in some plastics. Today, Arizona remains a leading cotton state, along with Texas, California, Mississippi and Louisiana.


Arizona’s most popular agricultural citrus include grapefruit, lemons, limes and oranges. Early irrigation efforts in the 1860s, such as the reconstruction of the Hohokam Canals, made citrus growth possible in Arizona’s harsh desert climate.


Arizona consistently experiences over 300 days of sunshine a year, with only 8” average annual rainfall. During monsoon season, however, hailstorms, microbursts and dust storms known as haboobs can quickly cover large areas. Flash flooding is not uncommon during heavy rainfall, and dust storms can be thick enough to block out the sun.

Arizona’s relatively mild winters contribute to the Snowbird effect, when people from colder states “nest” in Arizona before returning home as the weather warms up. Outdoor temperatures in Arizona regularly exceed 100° Fahrenheit. The highest recorded temperature in Arizona is 128° Fahrenheit, in Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994. The lowest temperature is -40° Fahrenheit, in Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971. 


Thanks to these web pages for providing information about the Five C's.