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Economy of the West Region

Economy of the West Region
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.49

     challenging words:    greenish-blue, open-pit, smelter, supertankers, surfers, surfing, vail, Waikiki, tourism, historical, manufacture, testing, travelers, during, irrigation, memorial
     content words:    Gold Rush, Mountain West, Pacific West, Pacific Coast, Central Valley, Willamette Valley, Near Anchorage, New Mexico, Native American, Salt Lake City

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Economy of the West Region
By Trista L. Pollard

1     During the Gold Rush days, farming and mining were the West Region's major industries. Other businesses began as more people moved into the region. Today, farming and mining are still done. You will also find manufacturing, technology, and tourism in the region.
2     The region's natural resources and climate are very important to its industries. Most of the West's climate is hot and dry. In the Mountain West it is cool and dry. Along the Pacific coast, there is a lot of rain. However, some of the areas of the Pacific West are hot and dry. Farmers in these areas grow specific types of crops. In the Mountain West you will find wheat, potatoes, cabbage, and onions. Colorado and Montana have wheat farms. Idaho is famous for its potatoes.
3     In the Pacific Coast valleys, there are many farms. These valleys receive a lot of precipitation. However, it is not enough to grow certain crops. Farmers use irrigation to water their crops. In California's Central Valley, you will find fruit and vegetable farms. California is one of our top fruit producing states. Apricots, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, and strawberries are grown in the valley. Oregon's Willamette Valley has fruit, dairy, vegetable, and grain farms. Oats and barley are grown on some of these farms. Potatoes, green beans, onions, and broccoli are also grown in the valley. Do you like fruit? Well, you can find peaches, plums, and cherries in Willamette.
4     Alaska and Hawaii are two of the region's states that have extreme climates. Both states, however, also have agricultural industries. In southern Alaska there are vegetable and fruit farms. Near Anchorage, potatoes, barley, carrots, and strawberries are grown. Hawaii is famous for its pineapples. On the island of Lanai (lah NAH ee), one farming company grows the pineapples. You can also find sugarcane in Hawaii. The plant is grown on plantations. Once it is harvested, it is sent to sugar mills. This is where the table sugar we use is produced. Bananas, rice, coffee, and macadamia nuts are also grown in Hawaii.
5     Mining is a huge industry. It began with the first Gold Rush miners. It continues today in many of the region's states. The minerals and ores are used to manufacture products. Silver, turquoise, and copper are found in Arizona and New Mexico. Turquoise and silver are used to make jewelry. The jewelry is made by Native American craftspeople. They make rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Imagine having jewelry that has greenish-blue minerals. Copper is common in Arizona and Utah. Utah has the largest open-pit mine in the world. This means the copper is mined above ground. Electrical wires and plumbing pipes are made from copper. Uranium is another mineral found in New Mexico. It is used in nuclear power plants. These plants make electricity. Arizona has the largest deposit of uranium in the country. Remember, the region has many mines. Factories and plants are located near these mines. One type of plant takes copper ore and turns it into copper metal. This plant is called a smelter. You will find smelters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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