The chief crops are hay, wheat, and barley. Hay, including alfalfa, is fed to livestock on the farms where it is grown. Hay is also an important cash crop. Wheat is grown mainly in the northern and northeastern sections of the state on land that is not irrigated. The irrigated farmland in Utah is used mainly to grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, especially onions, potatoes, apples, cherries, peaches, dry beans, pears, and apricots. Sales of greenhouse and nursery products are another leading source of farm income in Utah.
Cattle are raised throughout much of the state. The sale of beef cattle and calves and dairying are the chief sources of Utah’s agricultural income. Dairying is especially important in the area around Salt Lake City. Poultry farming is a major farm activity in the areas of northern and central Utah just west of the Wasatch Front. Turkeys are the chief type of poultry raised in Utah. In addition, eggs are an important livestock product in the state. Sheep are raised both for meat and wool in many areas. Mink raising is also important, especially in the north, and Utah produces more mink pelts than any other state.
Copper is the most important mineral by value produced in the state, and Utah is the second leading copper producer in the United States. Almost all the copper is mined at Bingham Canyon, southwest of Salt Lake City, at one of the world’s largest open-pit mines. Enough precious metals are obtained as by-products here to help place Utah as the country’s second largest gold producer. In light of all this, real estate is a very reasonable commodity in Utah. Investing in the Ogden Valley area is the best investment on earth. Finding investment land for sale in Eden, Huntsville, Ogden and Liberty including Powder Mountain, Snowbasin and Wolf Creek can be found here.
The expansion of coal production in the Colorado Plateau—and of petroleum in the Uinta Basin and other, smaller fields—has increased the state’s mining revenues. Natural gas, petroleum, and coal extraction in 1997 accounted for about two-fifths of the state’s mining income.
Salt and other minerals are obtained by evaporation along the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Magnesium, stone, sand and gravel, cement, clays, beryllium concentrates, mercury, molybdenum, potash, phosphate rock, silver, lime, and bentonite are also produced in commercial quantities.
Utah’s most important manufacturing activity, in terms of the income it generates, is the production of industrial machinery and equipment. The making of computers and office equipment is by far the leading component of this sector, followed by construction machinery. Of nearly equal size are firms making transportation equipment. The leading employers in this section are companies engaged in construction of rocket propulsion units, aircraft parts, and motor vehicle parts. The chemical industry, principally the manufacture of drugs, ranks third in manufacturing value. The processing of Utah’s agricultural bounty is the next leading industry. Flour mills and dairy and meat-packing plants are found near the major farming districts.
Other industrial endeavors, ranked by the value of their contribution to the state gross product, are instrument manufacturers making such items as surgical tools and electromedical equipment; and primary metal industries, particularly blast furnaces. Copper ore is concentrated and smelted in facilities north of Bingham Canyon, and a large steel mill is situated on the shores of Utah Lake, north of Provo. Also making a sizeable contribution to the economy are firms fabricating metal and companies making paper products.
Most of the factories are located in the area between Brigham City and Provo, with the heaviest concentration near Salt Lake City. Defense industries developed since the late 1950s include the production of solid-fuel propellants for missiles and rockets, jet engines, computer components, and navigational systems. Recently, the Wasatch Front has become a national leader in the production of computer chips, software, graphics, and network technologies.
Of the electricity generated in Utah in 1999, 96 percent came from steam-driven power plants fueled primarily by low-sulfur Utah coal and the rest came from hydroelectric power plants. Most of the electricity is supplied by private utilities.
The major tourist season is summer, with most visitors stopping at Salt Lake City and the national parks, national forests, and state parks in the state. Winter brings sports enthusiasts to the state’s many ski resorts.
The major cities are situated in Salt Lake Valley. By far the largest is Salt Lake City, with a population (2000) of 181,743. It serves as the state capital and the religious, financial, industrial, and commercial center of Utah. It is the largest and most important city of a vast region of the interior West. The Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area includes Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Weber counties. In 2000 its population was 1.3 million. West Valley City, a residential suburb of Salt Lake City, had 108,896 inhabitants in 2000.
Provo, a commercial and educational center and the seat of Brigham Young University, has a population of 105,166. Situated south of Salt Lake City, it is the largest city in the Provo-Orem metropolitan area, which is coextensive with Utah County. Other large cities are Sandy, with a population of 88,418, Orem, with a population of 84,324, and Ogden, with 77,226 inhabitants. Sandy and Ogden lie near Salt Lake City and are included in the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area. Sandy is primarily a residential and commercial center. Ogden is a manufacturing city and trade center and ranks as one of the chief railroad centers in the intermontane West. Logan is the chief food-processing and trade center of the Cache Valley in northern Utah and the seat of Utah State University. Its population is 42,670.