Yup ... a large portion of the western lands is best used to timber production and open range grazing for cattle and sheep. And yes, you can grow alfalfa profitably IF you have enough water to irrigate the circular hay field. And yes, some land can grow some other crops IF you have enough water and labor . Near and around Fresno, Cal. there were lots of fig orchards then about 30 years ago most of these orchards were almost gone and replaced with cotton or field crops or almond, walnut, pistachio, picon orchards and grape fields. Then the environmentalist elite filed a law suit to restore the water flow to the San Juaquin River and so restore Salmon runs . This river has been dry for over 70 years as the water from snow melt on the Sierra Nevada Mtn. was diverted into a reservoir and canals for crop irrigation ( my son' s father in law was the head lawyer for the farmers ), The environmentalists won that law suit . Farmers were the big losers as irrigation water started to dry up and vinyards and orchards were pulled up so productive farm lands returned to dusty desert lands sporting tumble weeds, ground squerrels, and coyotes. Those farmers that had the deep pocket money to dig much deeper wells planted almond trees for the new almond milk industry. Cotton fields started increasing too. How long this will last depends on how fast the earth settles to fill the porous water tables as more water is pumped from much deeper water wells.@bobm that is part of permaculture also. Recognize what the land will bear and use it accordingly.
not everything is about profit.There are millions of acres in the arid far West and South West ( think of wroadrunner and whiley covote play there ) where fruit and nut trees just will not grow, if they do and produce fruit, the crops are too costly to produce to be economically viable as water and labor is very expensive and the price received is way too low to be profitable. The most economical use of those lands , and lots of it, is open range land to graze cattle.
Profit is what makes the economic world go round. Look at the garden production and what you expect it to produce as food for you. If your garden produces a bumper crop, you can sell or give away the excess crop or keep it, but it still is a profit to you. If you volunteer your time and expertese for a non- profit company or hospital or whatever, and you do not get any monetary compensation or any goods, your profit is a warm fuzzy feeling.not everything is about profit.