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“Farming” redirects here. For other uses, see Farming (disambiguation).Agriculture natural placeFields in Záhorie, Slovakia, a typical Central European agricultural regionDomestic sheep and a cow (heifer) pastured together in South AfricaAgricultureHistoryHistory of organic farmingNeolithic RevolutionArab Agricultural RevolutionBritish Agricultural RevolutionGreen RevolutionOn landAnimal husbandry cattlepigpoultrysheep DairyDrylandExtensiveFree-rangeGrazingHobbyIntensiveanimalcrop NaturalOrchardOrganicRanchingSharecroppingSlash-and-burnIn waterAquacultureAquaponicsHydroponicsRelatedAgribusinessAgricultural engineeringAgricultural scienceAgroecologyAgroforestryAgronomyAnimal-freeCrop diversityEcologyLivestockMechanisationPermacultureSustainableUrbanListsGovernment ministriesUniversities and collegesCategoriesAgriculture by countrycompanies BiotechnologyLivestockMeat industryPoultry farming Agriculture and agronomy portalvteAgriculture is the cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance life.1 Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticatedspecies created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture by humans dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies; industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture farming has become the dominant agricultural method. Although generally understood to denote the practices of humans, other animals—for example, fungus-growing ants—have also been found to engage in agriculture.Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological developments have in many cases sharply increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare, environmental damage (such as massive drainage of resources such as water and feed fed to the animals, global warming, rainforest destruction, leftover waste products that are littered), and the health effects of the antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial additives and other chemicals commonly used in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are an increasing component of agriculture, although they are banned in several countries. Agricultural food production and water management are increasingly becoming global issues that are fostering debate on a number of fronts. Significant degradation of land and water resources, including the depletion of aquifers, has been observed in recent decades, and the effects of global warming on agriculture and of agriculture on global warming are still not fully understood. However, entomophagy would solve most of the former problems, and may start to gain popularity among society in the West.2The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials. Specific foods include cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meats and spices. Fibers include cotton, wool, hemp, silk and flax. Raw materials include lumber and bamboo. Other useful materials are also produced by plants, such as resins, dyes, drugs, perfumes, biofuels and ornamental products such as cut flowersand nursery plants. Over one third of the world’s workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the percentages of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the past several centuries.Contents  hide 1Etymology and terminology2History3Agriculture and civilization4Types of agriculture5Contemporary agriculture6Workforce6.1Safety7Agricultural production systems7.1Crop cultivation systems7.1.1Crop statistics7.2Livestock production systems8Production practices9Crop alteration and biotechnology9.1Genetic engineering10Environmental impact10.1Livestock issues10.2Land and water issues10.3Pesticides10.4Climate change10.5Sustainability11Agricultural economics12Agricultural science13List of countries by agricultural output14Energy and agriculture14.1Mitigation of effects of petroleum shortages15Policy16See also17References18Further reading19External linksEtymology and terminologyeditThe word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricult?ra, from ager, “field”, and cult?ra, “cultivation” or “growing”.3Agriculture usually refers to human activities, although it is also observed in certain species of ant, termite and ambrosia beetle.4 To practice agriculture means to use natural resources to “produce commodities which maintain life, including food, fiber, forest products, horticultural crops, and their related services.”5 This definition includes arable farming or agronomy, and horticulture, all terms for the growing of plants, animal husbandry and forestry.5 A distinction is sometimes made between forestry and agriculture, based on the former’s longer management rotations, extensive versus intensive management practices and development mainly by nature, rather than by man. Even then, it is acknowledged that there is a large amount of knowledge transfer and overlap between silviculture (the management of forests) and agriculture.6 In traditional farming, the two are often combined even on small landholdings, leading to the term agroforestry.7HistoryeditMain article: History of agricultureA Sumerian harvester’s sickle made from baked clay (c.?3000 BC)Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, and included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin.8 Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 105,000 years ago.9Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 15,000 years ago.10 Rice was domesticated in China between 13,500 and 8,200 years ago, followed by mung, soy and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago.11 From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops, emmer and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peasand flax were cultivated in the Levant. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago.12 In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, coca, llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago,13 and was independently domesticated in Eurasia at an unknown time. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was domesticated to maize by 6,000 years ago.14In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice, cotton and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.1516 After 1492, the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as maize, potatoes, sweet potatoes and manioc to Europe, and Old World crops such as wheat, barley, rice and turnips, and livestock including horses, cattle, sheep and goats to the Americas.17 Irrigation, crop rotation, and fertilizers were introduced soon after the Neolithic Revolution and developed much further in the past 200 years, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution. Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, and to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labor has been replaced by mechanization, and assisted by synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and selective breeding. The Haber-Bosch method allowed the synthesis of ammonium nitrate fertilizer on an industrial scale, greatly increasing crop yields.1819 Modern agriculture has raised political issues including water pollution, biofuels, genetically modified organisms, tariffs and farm subsidies, leading to alternative approaches such as the organic movement2021 and regenerative agriculture.Agriculture and civilizationeditFurther information: Plants in cultureCivilization was the product of the Agricultural Neolithic Revolution; as H. G. Wells put it, “civilization was the agricultural surplus.”22 In the course of history, civilization coincided in space with fertile areas such as The Fertile Crescent, and states formed mainly in circumscribed agricultural lands. The Great Wall of China and the Roman empire’s limes (borders) demarcated the same northern frontier of cereal agriculture. This cereal belt fed the civilizations formed in the Axial Age and connected by the Silk Road.citation neededAncient Egyptians, whose agriculture depended exclusively on the Nile, deified the river, worshiped, and exalted it in a great hymn.23 The Nile began to be deified in Egypt because it played such a crucial role in the formation of civilization within the area. This began when early settlers flocked towards the river bank of the Nile around 6000 BCE, settlement which slowly progressed into Egypt, and made it the first recognizable nation state around 3150 BCE. Egypt was able to flourish as a nation state due to the many benefits and resources the Nile provided.24 The Chinese imperial court issued numerous edicts, stating: “Agriculture is the foundation of this Empire.”25 Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, and Inca Emperors themselves plowed ceremonial fields in order to show personal example to everyone.26Ancient strategists, Chinese Guan Zhong27 and Shang Yang28 and Indian Kautilya,29 drew doctrines linking agriculture with military power. Agriculture defined the limits on how large and for how long an army could be mobilized. Shang Yang called agriculture and war the One.30 In the vast human pantheon of agricultural deities31 there are several deities who combined the functions of agriculture and war.32As the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution produced civilization, the modern Agricultural Revolution, begun in Britain (British Agricultural Revolution), made possible the industrial civilization. The first precondition for industry was greater yields by less manpower, resulting in greater percentage of manpower available for non-agricultural sectors.33Types of agricultureeditReindeer herds form the basis of pastoral agriculture for several Arctic and Subarctic peoples.Pastoralism involves managing domesticated animals. In nomadic pastoralism, herds of livestock are moved from place to place in search of pasture, fodder, and water. This type of farming is practised in arid and semi-arid regions of Sahara, Central Asia and some parts of India.34In shifting cultivation, a small area of a forest is cleared by cutting down all the trees and the area is burned. The land is then used for growing crops for several years. When the soil becomes less fertile, the area is then abandoned. Another patch of land is selected and the process is repeated. This type of farming is practiced mainly in areas with abundant rainfall where the forest regenerates quickly. This practice is used in Northeast India, Southeast Asia, and the Amazon Basin.35Subsistence farming is practiced to satisfy family or local needs alone, with little left over for transport elsewhere. It is intensively practiced in Monsoon Asia and South-East Asia.36In intensive farming, the crops are cultivated for commercial purpose i.e., for selling. The main motive of the farmer is to make profit, with a low fallow ratio and a high use of inputs. This type of farming is mainly practiced in highly developed countries.3738

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