Agriculture is a process by which people adjust their ecosystems to meet various physiological needs. It simply means that agriculture involves all the skills and activities designed for the cultivation of land and more generally speaking all work done on the natural environment (not just land) to cultivate and produce resources useful to humans. Ever since the 19th century , many agricultural groups have the varied technical know-how of agriculture in various fields of biological , technical, cultural ,economic and social.
Areas of study in agriculture
Crop and livestock production :
In general, in this study area agriculture can be divided into two production areas:
- Plant production with a focus on agriculture and other types of production horticulture (including fruit and ornamental plants ) and wine as well as bio-energy from renewable resources .
- Animal production with different orientations depending on the animal species such as pig production , cattle production , poultry production , sheep production , fish farming , etc.
Depending on the location, the production areas are basically chosen for either of the above i.e., on poor soil conditions the cattle competition is better and becomes a stronger competitive edge, while crop production is more economical on better soils.
Extensive and intensive agriculture:
In this study area there are two categories found.
- Extensive agriculture is characterized by a relatively high utilization factor of production land and a relatively weak use of other factors of production per unit of product produced.
- Intensive agriculture is its opposite. Accordingly, between extensive and intensive livestock distinguished.
Typical forms of Extensive Agriculture are remote pasture , shifting cultivation and collection Culture - extensive agriculture and nomadism (also seasonal) are historically most closely connected. Typical examples that mark the transition to Intensive use, are irrigation , drainage , deforestation , terraced fields , and targeted fertilization. Extensive and intensive agriculture are also - less precise - for the definition of ecological agriculture and conventional uses.
History of agriculture
The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia, Egypt, and India were locations of the major intended seeding and reaping of plants that had been formerly suitable in nature. In 7000 BC, the nascent agriculture reached Egypt . In 6000 BC, laborer agriculture was ingrained on the panels of the Nile . This is due to poor development of the techniques still developing. In 5000 BC, the Sumerians had developed the main agricultural techniques, including demanding land cultivation on a large scale, monoculture methods, irrigation , and the custom of expert effort, principally along the watercourse now acknowledged as the Shatt al-Arab , the Persian Gulf delta to the convergence of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates.
Agriculture in the world:
From the beginning of agriculture in the period Neolithic, when the economy of human societies evolved from gathering, hunting and fishing to farming and ranching. The first plants that were cultivated were wheat and barley . Its origin is lost in the early stages of history and its development was conceived in various cultures, as those that emerged in the so-called Fertile Crescent (area of the Middle East from Mesopotamia to Ancient Egypt ), pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, culture developed by the Chinese east of Asia and so on. The reasons for the development of agriculture could be due to climatic changes towards warmer temperatures. It could also be due to the shortage of hunting or gathering food or the desertification of large areas.
Agriculture in middle ages:
Throughout the Middle ages, Europe has given birth to various important technological innovations in agriculture that provided some boost for the work of the peasants. The main innovations in medieval agriculture were due to greater dynamism of feudal mode of production, which meant for servants a greater incentive in improving production for slaves. The Games of Alfonso X of Castile define farmers within the stratified society like that till the ground and phased in it those things that men have to live and stay. This active peasantry was the core labor force in medieval society. The introduction of the heavy plow use (with wheels and moldboard ) permitted deeper cultivation of soils of northern Europe (joined along the XI century in the regions north of the Alps , while the fragile soils Mediterranean area were linked to the Roman plow ). The mills hydraulic (later thewind brought from Persia ) significantly increased labor productivity, as well as the gradual improvement of agricultural implements , as new types of harrows , sickles and scythes .
Types of agriculture:
The types of agriculture can be divided according to many different criteria classification:
Subsistence farming : In this type of farming, minimum amount of food is cultivated that is required to meet the needs of the farmer and his family. The little surplus whatever left is contributed to the market and sold. The technical level is primitive.
Industrial Agriculture : Large quantities are cultivated , using expensive means of production and market for surplus. Typical industrialized countries, the developing countries and internationalized sector of the poorest countries integrate this type of farming. The technical level is a comparatively a little better and incorporates more or less a little bit of technology. Also defined as market agriculture .
Intensive agriculture: This type of agriculture basically looks at a bigger produce in a comparatively small space. It leads to increased wear and tear of the site and the soils efficiency and functionality deteriorates over time.
Extensive agriculture: In extensive agriculture , the cultivation is on a larger land and therefore causes less pressure on the site and their ecological relationships. However, its commercial benefits are minor.
Traditional Agriculture: This form of agriculture essentially uses one particular area of land for the purpose of cultivation using the traditional practices with a key proposition of self sustainability without using up the lands utility value.
Industrial Agriculture: Cultivated mostly on rigorous structures. It is dedicated for cultivating in large amounts in less time. A lot of space and economic wear and tear occur in this type of agriculture. A great achiever of huge commercial benefits.
Organic Agriculture: Create various production systems that respect the ecological character of the sites and geo-biological of the soil, trying to keeping the seasons in mind and the natural distribution of plant species and also promotes soil fertility.
Natural Agriculture: Products are collected without human intervention.The cultivation is produced and consumed.
Researcher in agriculture
The pioneer names in agriculture are Graeme Barker,Barbara Bender,Babel W.,Marc Bloch, etc.
Agriculture and environment:
Agriculture has a major impact on the environment . In recent years, some aspects of intensive agriculture on an industrial scale have raised increasing concerns and has become all the more controversial. The disastrous effect on the environment of intensive agriculture has caused several previously fertile areas are to go completely beyond repair. Once such shocking example from the past is the Middle East fertile lands where once the most fertile farmland in the world and has now become nothing but a mere desert.
Research and developments of agriculture
- During the Old Regime, the Southern and Eastern Europe tasted feudal economic system, especially in agriculture. The talks about a re-feudalization is evident from the 17th century crisis , which reaffirmed the predominant position of the lords against the peasants .The peasants ,who remained the overwhelming majority of the population, had no chance to start the accumulation of capital necessary for agricultural transformation. However, in northwestern Europe, especially in Holland and England, social and political changes ( bourgeois revolution ) were accompanied by an agricultural revolution prior to the industrial revolution of the 18th century , intensified cultivation and consequently increased the yields. Thanks to technical improvements in production and the introduction of new crops.
- The integration of World Economy after the age of discovery allowed an exchange of cultures on a global level : products of Old World , such as wheat and grapes from the temperate zones , and sugar cane, cotton and coffee from the warm zones, were introduced successfully in America, while products of the New World such as corn , potato , tomato , pepper and snuff diversified European agriculture and the rest of the continents.
- The ideology of Economic liberalism advocated the liberation of the land market and the imposition of private property on them, with different manifestations depending on the country. The formation of national markets unified, involved the unification of weights and measures, and price liberalization versus protectionism previous mercantilist , a task that despotism had from assumptions physiocrats in the mid-eighteenth century. The use of chemical fertilizers (phosphates, nitrates, etc..) the mechanization and scientific studies of soil science and agricultural engineering agriculture transformed the late nineteenth century, in a similar activity to industry in terms of its connection to the science and technology .However, dependence on the weather and pest outbreaks periodically produced regular agricultural crises.
- The division of the world into developed and underdeveloped agriculture was in one of its aspects: the first characterized by agriculture and a market specialized in high yields , while in the second there was a zoning between a subsistence family farms with traditional technology. Under the pressure of population growth, agriculture and plantation monocultures for the international market, the natural resources of land have been under great pressure and have been depleting due to deforestation.
- The green revolution of agriculture in the second half of the twentieth century meant a qualitative leap in the modernization of agriculture worldwide. Based on advanced technological improvements such as high-yield seeds, which in the late twentieth century experienced a new boost with the biotechnology in the case of genetically modified organisms . Simultaneously, the widespread evolution towards a market agriculture was increasing the reliance on pesticides. Intensive fertilization with serious environmental problems such as pollution of soil and aquifers and a drastic reduction of biodiversity has been answered with the implementation of sustainable agriculture.
- In particular, the political economy has developed some of their own tools and concepts, such as the law of decreasing productivity of factors of production just by thinking about what was happening in agriculture . When it comes to economic science, in fact, this was by far the most productive sector important for both the value of the agricultural product compared to GDP and in number of employees.
- The topics dealt with by political economy applied to agriculture are numerous and relate to the choices of the farmer under uncertainty (caused by the presence of environmental hazards generic, parasites , diseases , weather ). The contingencies of the agricultural enterprise which may require the use of forms of insurance are the characteristics of demand for agricultural products (which for poorly differentiated products is quite rigid than the price and the income ), the choices of product and production process, relations with industry processing of agricultural products and the policies ofdistribution of the products.
- The agricultural policy analyzes and studies the support measures to the agricultural sector, and its application and / or the price of agricultural commodities and agri-food products, and to develop intervention strategies.
- It also belongs to the study of the political community that, by reducing the quantity produced, as in the case of milk quotas , or by supporting the production of certain goods with economic contributions dished out to the producers seek to rule the agricultural sector with the aim of defending the income farmers, limit competition and foreign, in particular, many countries of the third world that can produce the same goods at very low prices, protect the environment, prevent the abandonment of land especially in mountain areas.
- Other topics addressed by highly general economic policy measures concern the effects of agricultural policy and the choices of companies on income, employment, balance of payments and productivity.
List of agricultural universities and colleges that offers courses in Agriculture
- Berkshire College of Agriculture
- Bicton College
- Capel Manor College
- Clinterty Agricultural College
- College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Northern Ireland (CAFRE)
- Cranfield University
- Harper Adams University
- Hartpury College (an associate faculty of the University of the West of England)
- Kingston Maurward College
- Lackham College (part of Wiltshire College)
- Moulton College
- Oaklands College
- Reaseheath College
- Rodbaston College (part of South Staffordshire College)
- Royal Agricultural University
- Scotlands Rural University College (SRUC)
- Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
- Shuttleworth College (part of Bedford College)
- Sparsholt College Hampshire
- University of Reading
- Writtle College