8.01 Agricultural Revolutions
Agriculture is the modification of Earth by humans to raise crops and animals for food or to sell. Agriculture was born out of hunting and gathering. As human populations began to experiment with growing plants and raising animals thousands of years ago, the concept of agriculture as it is known today was established. In this interactive, you will explore the development of agriculture, identify the hearths of plant and animal domestication, and learn about some of the agricultural products that emerged from each hearth. The Columbian Exchange, which occurred during the 1500s, when Europeans began colonizing North and South America, agricultural products were exchanged between the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) and the New World (North and South America). Geographers often divide agriculture into two essential types: subsistence agriculture, or the production of plants and animals for survival, and commercial agriculture, or the production of plants and animals on a larger scale for sale. The Second Agricultural Revolution, which marked the beginning of the shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture, began alongside the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s. The period of industrial and technological growth that took place during the Industrial Revolution resulted in the development of new devices, such as the cotton gin and the mechanical reaper, that began to allow farm work to be done more quickly and efficiently. During the 20th century, the Third Agricultural Revolution, also called the Green Revolution, again began to change how farmers practiced agriculture to form modern commercial farming. Farmers—often large corporations—may not only grow crops, but also process and sell them. Biotechnology, increased food processing, and more powerful machinery also characterized the Third Agricultural Revolution. This revolution helped transform the face of agriculture from a business in which farmers simply grow and harvest crops. 8.02 Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture
Subsistence agriculture is performed primarily in developing countries by farmers who aim to produce food for their own consumption. Any extra can be sold to the government or local markets.Developing countries with subsistence agriculture use tools that can be operated manually or with animal power and don’t have money for agricultural tools or fertilizers. Farm size is small and they produce just enough to feed their families.
Commercial agriculture is performed primarily in developed countries by farmers whose goal is to sell the crops and animals for profit. Commercial farmers may form partnerships with major food-processing companies and agree to sell their produce and animals only to those companies.In developed countries, the percentage of farmers in the workforce is quite low, on average, less than 10 percent of workers are involved in commercial agriculture in developed countries. Use of Machinery
In developed countries, commercial farmers have the resources available to invest in farming equipment, such as tractors and plows, and have the scientific advances available for fertilizers to increase the amount of food harvested. Farm Size Commercial farms tend to be extremely large.
Different types of subsistence agriculture:
Shifting cultivation is a form of extensive subsistence farming in which plots of land are cleared and used for several years and then abandoned for a long period of time as farmers move on to farm other areas of land. Pastoral nomadism, which is also referred to a pastoralism, is a form of subsistence agriculture that involves the breeding and herding of animals to produce food, shelter, and clothing. In today's world, pastoral nomadism is primarily practiced in semiarid, arid, or high polar climate regions with little or no arable land. Intensive...