Lander and Eureka counties are among the most export-dependent counties in the U.S., according to an analysis by Pew Research Center. About 27 percent of their gross domestic product comes from export-dependent industries.
According to Daniel Rothberg of www.thenevadaindependent.com, the mining industry in Lander and Eureka Counties has lifted the rural communities to the top of the list of the United States export-dependent industries. Lander County, like Eureka County, has several mines for metal and industrial materials. The industry as whole accounts for about 92 percent of the export activity in the counties.
Lander County and Eureka County have very similar economies, and both rely on mining and agriculture to support their communities. The article mentioned that one reason the export numbers are so high is partly due to environmental laws. Raw metals like gold or copper are often exported out of the country for processing. Those metals will ultimately be returned to the United States to be sold.
The article on thenevadaindependent.com presented Thomas Harris, director of University of Nevada’s Center for Economic Development, who stressed that it was important to bring infrastructure upgrades, like high-speed Internet, to rural Nevada.
Lander County’s exports are partly due to the county having access to a major highway and rail corridors. The county is also central to mines which produce a significant amount of silver, copper, iron, magnetite, lithium, barite, sepiolite, saponite, limestone, sand, gravel, diatomite, molybdenum, perlite, salt, semiprecious gemstones, and mercury.
Another reason international exports are high is Lander County’s 124 farms, focused on beef cattle and grass forage materials, including irrigated alfalfa hay. Nevada has some of the best alfalfa hay in the world because growing conditions in the state produce alfalfa that yields a high protein feed and silage.
Both Eureka and Lander County have received some recognition for their export economy and hope to continue to lead the state in the category. The counties may also pursue other avenues to help build the economy for the rural areas with opportunities provided by renewable energy and available space.