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Goat dairies on the rise in Arizona

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Arizona’s mountains are attracting goat dairies, creating a new market of award-winning artisan cheeses. Since 2003, when the first commercial goat dairy was certified in Arizona, five more have emerged, totaling about 600 goats producing milk and cheese under state regulation. “Goats are fun,” said Kathryn Heininger, co-owner of Arizona’s first certified goat dairy, Black Mesa Ranch, in Snowflake. “They are like big, productive puppy dogs.” Heininger and her husband, David, moved from Tucson to the ranch property in 2000 and bought a goat as a pet and for milk. They eventually built a herd, selling the extra milk. In 2003, the Arizona Department of Agriculture certified their ranch for commercial production, the first in state, said Roland Mader, administrator for the dairy and egg programs at the department. Now, six goat dairies are certified for commercial production in...

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More bartending jobs on tap for Arizona

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Job seekers might want to brush up on their cocktail recipes as Arizona is expected to have the second highest expected growth rate for bartending in the nation for the next decade. That is good news for Patrick Night, 50, who is training to become a bartender. Night, who was a truck driver for the past 30 years, said he wants to get out of his cab and meet people. “Being a people’s person, I can introduce myself,” Night said. “(Customers) know me, and I know them, and then I can be surrounded by friends and joy.” In the next decade, the number of bartending jobs in Arizona is expected to increase from about 10,400 to 13,300, a 28 percent jump, according to the Arizona Department of Administration. This is the second highest growth rate in the nation, after...

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Arizona dairy farmers preserve milk

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A hundred cows at the Caballero dairy munch alfalfa under the spacious barn while fans and misters keep them cool during a 79-degree spring day. The cool digs are not just about making cows feel comfortable, especially when temperatures hit 115 or more in the summer, said dairy owner Craig Caballero. New research indicates that ambient temperature affects milk production, and for Arizona farmers that means money. Heat stress causes about $39,000 of annual loss to the average dairy farm in the United States, according to a study published in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Arizona’s dairy industry production in 2013 was valued at $900 million from 200,000 milk cows, according to the U.S. National Agricultural Statistics Service. Heat stress is a challenge dairy farms face in the hot climate of Arizona, said Mike Billotte of the...

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Arizonans using less water

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Average Water Consumption | Create infographics When Jimmy Wells of Tucson bought an old house in 2011, upgrading to water-efficient fixtures was his top priority. He bought a front-loader washing machine, an energy and water efficient appliance. He transformed the backyard into a thriving space with trees and shrubs through desert landscaping. He saved himself money, and he, like millions of other Arizonans, is saving the region water. “We live in the desert,” Wells said. “Water is precious.” Average single-family household water use is on the decline in Maricopa and Pima counties’ urban centers, according to the Arizona Water Resources Department. From 2000 to 2013, the average annual household water has decreased by about 25 percent. The trend is largely caused by improvements in technology and changes in landscape preferences. The data should be interpreted with caution as it...

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Educators taking classes to the garden plot

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First-grader Cooper Goffeney peered through the magnifying glass to scan a tree branch for butterfly larva. His class at Davis Bilingual Magnet School in Tucson that day was learning about insect biology. “I thought it was pretty cool to see other eggs,” Cooper said in the school garden. Cooper’s teacher, Julian Barceló, said his students look forward every day to the 30-minute session in the garden. “They stay naive if they stay in the classroom because they do not have the opportunity to explore and observe,” Barceló said. Teachers throughout Arizona are engaging students through new tools that go beyond the classroom: carrots, fish and dirt. About 10 percent of Arizona schools have gardens, according to the Arizona Department of Education. Most of the gardens are used to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom, said Ashley Schimke, Farm To...

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