Representatives from Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) were on hand at the monthly Representative Town Hall May 12 to discuss a new roadway information tool on the MCDOT website that is sure to help citizens get answers. For residents of Anthem, the tool will be especially helpful, as some of the most frequently asked questions that come into the customer service desks have to do with roads and road projects.
In Anthem, roads on the east side of I-17 in are owned and maintained by MCDOT (with the exception of those in the Country Club community, which they maintain); streets on the west are owned and maintained by the City of Phoenix (with the exception of Summit Walk Court, which the Anthem Community Council maintains).
The new tool, which is also mobile friendly (with a locator built in), displays all roads in Maricopa County, which can then be filtered by layers. It will also display the direction the route goes when you click on a road on the map. Roads maintained by MCDOT are displayed by color to indicate full or partial maintenance.
Users can also click on any road segment to open a pop-up box with data pertaining to that road segment. The selected segment will be highlighted on the map. Data such as parcel information and land/street ownership can then be viewed, or a link can take users directly to the assessor and recorder’s website for more information. Areas can also be measured.
The Impact and Future of Arizona Agriculture
Julie Murphree of Arizona Farm Bureau also spoke to those in attendance about the impact of Arizona’s agriculture on the nation. The state agriculture industry is valued at over $17 billion. While many think of Arizona as dry, barren and mountainous, the state actually leads the nation in winter lettuce crops (Yuma), produces 8 million pounds of apples per year, is third in the nation in cotton production, is home to more than 188,000 dairy cows and produces enough beef to feed 4.6 million Americans.
Murphree discussed the growing demand for organics by consumers, which has resulted in many farms going from straight conventional farming methods to a hybrid of conventional and organic. Shamrock Farms, for example, does both with other 10,000 conventional dairy cows and 600 on their organic side.
She also addressed the rise of biotech farming and the strict vetting process, research and guidelines that must be adhered to. Technology in farming has made a difference in output that cannot be understated. “We celebrate tech in our cell phones,” Murphree said, “but we should be celebrating tech advances in farming.”
From 1950 to today, output has increased 262%, while farms have become smaller in size, because more product can be produced per acre. Drones have also been impactful to agriculture in that they can produce images of farm acreage that shows, for instance, sections that need fertilizing, or more water. Farmers can then isolate their fertilizer or water to that specific section of acreage, rather than the whole crop, saving money and minimizing invasive methods on the whole crop.
The world population is expected to grow by two billion people by 2050. Farmers will have to produce more in the next 30 years than they have in all of history combined. The future of agriculture is strong.