Cotton has a long history in Arizona, with reports of cotton fabrics being found in prehistoric pueblo ruins. However it wasn’t until the 20th century and the construction of elaborate irrigation systems, that Arizona cotton became a cornerstone of the states economy.

It was at USDA experimental farms in Sacaton Arizona that the Pima line of cotton was first developed in the early 1900's. It was given this name in honor of the Pima Indians who were helping to raise the cotton. In the early 1900s Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company purchased 16000 acres to raise pima cotton near Phoenix. This came at the time of the outbreak of World War I when cotton was in short supply because foreign sources were in war torn countries. Goodyear used the cotton for the production of rubber tires and aircraft fabrics, and its success fueled unprecedented growth in the state.

When the war ended in 1920 the prices plummeted pushing the state into depression, but with the completion of the Roosevelt Dam came cheap water and cheap immigrant labor recruited from Mexico helped fuel the continued growth of the Industry. The peak came in 1953 when cotton production surpassed the copper as the states largest resource. This growth was maintained until the 1960s when competition from synthetic fibers and a insect infestation began to slow profits. The Industry has never matched these highs and has been shrinking ever since.

Today acreage is being lost to land speculation with developers paying $30,000 or more per acre for farm lands west of phoenix. Cotton acreage has plummeted 75 percent since 1997.