NCET explores business and technology
By Dave Archer
How about Beef Stew?
Nevada is home to one-half million cattle, as well as some of the nation’s largest potato, white onion and seed garlic farms. (Hmm. “Nevada: The Beef Stew State.”)
Whether it’s growing food or serving it in bars and restaurants, Nevada’s food and agricultural industry is big.
Nevada’s food and agriculture sector contributes $2.7 billion to Nevada’s economy, employs about 15,000 people, and exports $300 million in food and agricultural products. Nevada has over 4,000 farms totaling nearly 6 million acres of farmland, and the top agricultural products include cattle and calves, dairy products, hay, poultry, onions, potatoes, wheat and garlic.
On the “consumption” side, Nevada has over 5,600 eating and drinking places that employ 207,000 Nevadans, or 16% of our workforce, and generate $7.2 billion in sales. Nevada’s gaming and tourism sector alone is responsible for $2 billion of that number.
Players in Nevada’s food and agriculture sector range in size from mega-casino groups to individual entrepreneurs. While people often envision an entrepreneur as someone working in her garage – or a coffee shop – to start a high-tech company involving software, computers or perhaps aerospace, entrepreneurs actually come in all shapes and sizes and they start their businesses in every imaginable industry and sector. In Nevada, many of our entrepreneurs are involved in one of the state’ brightest economic sectors: food!
Nevada’s ranches and farms, for example, range from some of the nation’s largest – averaging 3,500 acres – to small and medium-sized specialty farms which often utilize small “hoop houses” for some or all of their crops. (Hoop houses are a type of greenhouse covered in polyethylene or similar materials.) A few examples:
- Lattin Farms in Fallon grows carrots, kale, spinach, and several lettuces. (www.lattinfarms.com)
- Holley Family Farms grows cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, greens and root vegetables on their Dayton farm. (www.holleyfamilyfarms.com)
- Lotspeich Family Farms near Elko grows winter spinach, carrots, Swiss chard and snap peas. (www.facebook.com/LotspeichFamilyFarm/
Other entrepreneurs are busy starting new restaurants, and Reno’s Midtown, Downtown, Riverwalk and other districts serve as testaments to their efforts.
- Kwok’s Bistro, serving traditional Chinese food, recently opened downtown. (www.kwoksbistro.com)
- Rum Sugar Lime is a new bar offering a wide range of libations in Midtown. (www.rumsugarlime.com)
- Royal India, a family owned business serving Indian cuisine, opened a few months ago on Keystone Avenue. (www.royalindia-cuisine.com)
Each of these farms, ranches, restaurants and bars can ultimately be traced back to someone who had both an idea and the drive to make it happen. So, let’s raise a glass to the current and future culinary entrepreneurs who make our great dining experiences possible and who contribute so much to Nevada’s economic diversity and vitality!
Dave Archer is President and CEO of NCET, a member-supported non-profit that produces networking events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. You can find more info at NCET.org