Payson primarily has been a farming community. Principal crops have always been grass hay, which the pioneers found growing wild when they arrived, lucerne (alfalfa), and grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and corn; beets, potatoes, and onions have also been grown. Cattle, sheep, and hogs are also raised in the area.
As the area grew, the supply of water became inadequate. However, additional water that became available following the construction and development of the Strawberry Reservoir brought new life to the area, with an increase in population and industrial development.
Payson, like other Mormon communities in Utah Territory, was nearly self-supporting. The people produced their own food and clothing, milled their own flour, operated their own sawmills, manufactured their own shingles, adobe bricks, and furniture. A millinery shop was established in 1906 and a floral shop in 1917. New industries continued to be established over the years, including manufacturing plants of motor homes, campers and trailers, and fiberglass boats.