Agriculture in Nevada
Nevada is one of the 50 states in the United States of America that truly embraces the farming, or ranching, culture. Typically in the hotter and dryer climates, we see ranches. A ranch is a type of farm where the primary focus is the caring for, rearing, and herding of the animals. This results in the production of various fabrics, skins, and the most popular type of cattle-rearing are dedicated to meat production.
Ranchers spend most of their time on four-wheelers, or on horseback, herding the animals around the property, for feeding, cleaning, etc.
All You Need to Know
Agriculture is one of the most important industries for the regional economy. Most of the state’s farms and ranches are aimed at livestock production, where cattle dominate.
Located in the western side of the country, are the foothills of Sierra Nevada Mountains. The climate is mainly a semi-arid one when compared with the desert region of Nevada. Most of this region lies in the Great Basin area.
There is a desert in eastern Nevada known as the Mojave Desert, lying west to the basin. The western part has a boundary, naturally created by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The rivers flowing in that area are mostly gorges and there are very few banks. The vegetation of the area is mostly dry and concentrated on one type of vegetation, without much variety in the region.
Types of crops:
The types of crops grown in Nevada are herbs like mint and parsley. Other crops include vegetables like potatoes, onion, garlic, oats, wheat, etc.
Driving through Nevada, you’re likely to see granaries filled with corn. These are storehouses for threshed grain and they protect the grains from outside influence. They aid in preventing exposure to pests, insects, and poor weather conditions. Alternatively, silos are tall towers or pits used to store grain. You might also see these around the state.
One of the main substantial crops of this area is Alfalfa. Specifically, Nevada is known for producing Alfalfa hay and Alfalfa seeds. These are the most famous of the region and the Sierra Nevada is well known across the country for these cute little super-herbs. As of recent, alfalfa has become a popular choice amongst heal aficionados, vegans, and the plant is growing in popularity – having a very positive effect on Nevada’s agricultural contribution to the economy.
However, the alfalfa hay is mainly produced to be consumed by the livestock reared in Nevada. The rearing of livestock is also very popular in Nevada. Cattle feed on the alfalfa hay which is very nutritious for them, and inexpensive for local farmers to produce. New farmers often forget about the massive expense associated with rearing livestock. This cuts into profits for farmers around the US, but Nevada farmers are particularly fortunate with their ability to produce crops and rear cattle, simultaneously at very low cost. Taking care of and feeding farm animals can make farming much more challenging in other locations.
Various other vegetables and fruits are grown in the Sierra Nevada as well.
Contrary to Nevada’s crop/cattle benefits are the challenges that come along with the climate. It is exceptionally tough to pursue farming in Nevada due to the dry climate, year-round, all throughout the region. This makes it hard to scale your farm operation, as the scalability is limited. The agriculture community thrives mainly due to snow-fed rivers coming from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
However, this depends on annual snowfall which is completely out of the control of local farmers.
This climate is particularly affected by the Californian Mediterranean climate. The alpine climate receives a heavy amount of rainfall through the course of a year with a sizeable amount of it being in the form of snowfall. The annual snowfall is directly responsible for water and electric generation in Nevada, which can prove to be problematic.
A major portion of the region is always dry, despite snowfall, and semi-arid. This affects their crops and determines what farmers can grow and what they cannot. However, when the water supply is uninterrupted, Nevada irrigation systems are well designed for optimal crop growth and longevity.
Nevada is famous for its farming techniques and modern tools. It’s particularly innovative, partly because the dry climate has required Nevada farmers to find new ways to produce a successful yield each year.
Local farmers use step cut farming and plenty of modern technology, as well as the most innovative machinery. As mentioned, the snow-fed mountains are the main source of water for the crops. This requires the use of stepwise farming proves helpful in the slopes of the mountains.
Furthermore, tractor and farm plowing equipment are used along with sprinklers.
Farming in Nevada
Local farming mainly consists of growing and cultivating crops like alfalfa, as this is an arid climate. This is right on par with much of the Western region. Typically in arid climates, the primary cash crops are vegetables and grains.
Fortunately, Nevada might be a dry or semi-arid climate, but the landscape provides the perfect ecosystem, for farming. The primary cash crops are locally grown plants like alfalfa, and the livestock survives on these plants and grains. While the snow-capped mountains are a primary source of natural water. When nature is working harmoniously, this is the perfect region for self-sustainable, low-cost farming.
The climate is also fairly consistent due to the semi-arid region, and thus only specific crops can be grown. Climate consistency is very important in farming. As a result, Nevada crop vegetation is one of the main sources of income for local farmers. Farmers in the region can grow specific crops in cooperative weather conditions, and thus, have great potential for success. There just may be a bit of a weather-dependent learning curve.