Monday, September 6, 2010

Will Governor Brewer put chickens in the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum?

After half a year of secret planning, Governor Brewer proudly announced (in January) a “gift to Arizona”: the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. The museum is to feature citrus, cotton, cattle, copper, and climate. This curious collection of “C” things is taken from old school history books that summarize industry found in early Arizona. Actually, there used to be four “C”s. Someone rewrote history and slipped in “climate”.

House Bill 2251, signed by Governor Brewer last spring, actually established the 5C museum in Arizona law. The museum is to be managed by the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) which did a very strange thing when speaking in favor of the bill during the senate hearing. They pronounced that there would in fact be many more “c”s, including construction, computers, and canyons. The curious illogic of promoting a law by enthusiastically announcing that you will not comply with it if passed did not seem to concern the Senate committee as they voted in favor of the bill.

So, the Governor and the AHS appear to be planning a “Many C” or “XC” museum for the centennial. Therefore, it seems perfectly logical to ask: Will there be chickens? As the population of the PhoenixTucson metropolitan areas continue to grow, eggs and poultry will obviously be a continuously growing industry.

Meanwhile, citrus and cotton are in serious decline. Both land and water are becoming too scarce and expensive for agricultural use. The last citrus packing plant in metropolitan Phoenix recently folded. Arizona’s cotton production is insignificant in comparison to US cotton production. In contrast, each person that moves into Arizona creates future demand for more eggs and more chickens. Chickens take up little space, and they drink little water, so they are not hampered by the economic constraints that are suffocating citrus and cotton


Why, it’s not hard to imagine that chickens may soon outnumber cows. Arizona’s overgrazed range land is supporting fewer and fewer cows which never did make a whole lot of sense in the desert anyhow. Like citrus and cotton, cows are on the way out. Ranches find it harder and harder to make a profit, and continuing conflict over the use of Federal land puts further limits grazing rights. Chickens may soon be the only viable agriculture related industry in Arizona.

So, if the Governor and AHS have not yet considered chickens for another “C”, they should. Besides, chickens have more charisma than cows. Consider the little Red Hen, Chicken Little, Foghorn Leghorn, and even Easter chicks. The only cow anyone ever heard of was that fool that chewed too much weed and did the lunar leap. No one can even remember her name.

Also, if the XC museum included chickens and eggs, there could be an Easter egg collection. That would at least provide something of interest for kids.

One “C” that is apparently not included, however, is “cash”. There was no funding for the 5C museum when the bill was passed, and there appears to be none now. The Governor and the AHS appear to have only chicken feed to support their project.

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