Agriculture in Arizona is a multi-billion dollar industry, enriching the state's economy and the welfare of many rural communities.
Ensuring the vitality of rangelands and the management of their natural resources is essential for the industry's future success, important for the state's economy, and critical to the livelihoods of more than 2,500 Arizona ranching families.
The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation recognizes ranching's central importance to Arizona and has demonstrated its commitment to the state's rangelands – and the University of Arizona's research and extension in this field – through a $4.5 million endowed gift.
The gift will support the School of Natural Resources and the Environment within the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, or CALS, aiding work that will enhance and strengthen the ecological, economic and social viability of ranching in the 21st century.
"We are thankful for this partnership with the Marley Foundation, which is allowing us to preserve and enhance Arizona's ranches and rangelands, both of which are critical resources to support the economic health and sustainability of our state," said Shane Burgess, dean of CALS.
Patrick Bray, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association, noted that Arizona's publicly owned rangelands cover more than 8 million acres, and the livestock division of agriculture, alone, boosted the state's economy by more than $3 billion last year.
"We're really pleased to have the School of Natural Resources and the Environment here in our state, focusing on how to feed a growing population and produce new dollars for the economy," Bray said. "I think you would be hard pressed to find some of the expertise we have at the University of Arizona anywhere else in the Southwest-and a lot of it is because we're in such a unique environment because of climate and land ownership."
The Marley Foundation's generous contribution is divided into two components – $1.5 million has already been invested to support the Marley Endowed Chair for Sustainable Rangeland Stewardship, and another $3 million will establish the Marley Program Endowment.
Read more from this February 3 article from UANews at http://uanews.org/node/44661