Agriculture is the art and science of cultivating the soil, growing crops and raising livestock. It includes the preparation of plant and animal products for people to use and their distribution to markets.
Agriculture as a science
History of Agriculture
Importance of Agriculture
Careers in Agriculture
Branches of Agriculture
AGRICULTURE AS A SCIENCE
Agriculture is the process of producing food, feed, fiber and many other required products by growing certain plants and raising domesticated animals (livestock). Agriculture provides most of the world’s food and fabrics. Cotton, wool and leather are all agricultural products. Agriculture also provides wood for construction and paper products. Agriculture is the key development of the rise of sedentary human civilization, and the agriculture of domesticated species has created an excess of food, allowing people to live in cities.
HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE
The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After starting collecting wild grains at least 105,000 years ago, newborn farmers began growing them 11,500 years ago. Pigs,sheep and cattle were domesticated 10,000 years ago. Plants are grown independently in at least 11 regions of the world. In the 20th century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture became the dominant position in agricultural output, although about 2 billion people still rely on subsistence agriculture.
Agricultural practice in the 20th century has undergone great changes, especially agricultural chemistry. Before the popularization of agriculture, people spent most of their lives looking for food-hunting wild animals and collecting wild plants When people began to grow crops, they also began to graze and breed wild animals. Adapting wild animals and plants for people’s use is called domestication. In the 15th and 16th centuries, explorers introduced new varieties of plants and agricultural products to Europe.
From Asia, they brought home coffee, tea, and indigo, a plant used to make blue dyes. From the Americas, they took plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, corn(corn), beans, peanuts and tobacco. Some of them became staples, expanding people’s diets. Other recent changes in agriculture include hydroponics, plant breeding, hybridization, gene manipulation, better management of soil nutrients, and improved weed control.
Over the centuries, people have cultivated new types of plants and animals through random experiments. In the 1950s and 1960s, scientists developed new strains of high-yielding wheat and rice. They introduced them to Mexico and parts of Asia. As a result, food production in these areas soared. This bold agricultural experiment is called the “green revolution”.”
An important period of agricultural development began in the early 1700s, and one of the most important developments was the improved Maratha seed drill invented by British Jethro Tull. Many machines were developed in the United States.
The cotton ginning machine, invented by Eli Whitney in 1794, reduces the time required to separate cotton fibers from seeds. In the 1830s, Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical harvesters helped modernize the grain cutting process. Around the same time, John and Hiram Pitts introduced a horse-powered thresher that shortened the process of separating grains and seeds from chaff and straw. John Deere’s steel plow, introduced in 1837, can handle tough prairie soil with less horsepower. With the emergence of new machines, there have also been some important advances in agricultural methods. By selectively breeding animals (breeding animals with ideal traits), farmers increase the size and productivity of livestock.
At the beginning of the 20th century, electricity became the power supply for Japanese and German farms for the first time, and by 1960, most farms in the United States and other developed countries were electrified. Electricity illuminates farm buildings and powers machinery such as water pumps, milking machines, and feeding equipment. Today, electricity controls the entire environment of livestock and poultry houses.
Pesticides and Fertilizers
Traditionally, farmers use various methods to protect their crops from pests and diseases. They have put herbal-based poisons on crops, carefully selecting insects from plants, cultivating powerful crop varieties, and rotating crops to control insects. Now, almost all farmers, especially those in developed countries, rely on chemicals to control pests. With the use of chemicals, crop losses and prices fell sharply. For thousands of years, farmers have relied on natural fertilizers—such as manure, wood ash, ground bones, fish or fish parts, and bird and bat waste called guano-to supplement or increase nutrients in the soil.
IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
* Source of livelihood
The main source of many people is agriculture. About 70%of people directly rely on agriculture as a means of living. This high proportion of agriculture is due to the lack of development of non-agricultural activities to absorb the rapidly growing population. However, most people in developed countries are not engaged in agriculture.
* Contribution to national income
Agriculture is the main source of national income in most developing countries. However, for developed countries, agriculture contributes a smaller proportion of their national income.
* Significance to international trade
Agricultural products, such as sugar, tea, rice, spices, tobacco, coffee, etc. The main items that constitute the export of agricultural-dependent countries. If the development of agriculture goes smoothly, imports will decrease and exports will increase significantly. This helps to reduce the country’s unfavorable balance of payments, as well as save foreign exchange. This amount may well be used to import other necessary inputs, machinery, raw materials and other infrastructure that helps support the country’s economic development.
* Saleable surplus
The growth of the agricultural sector has helped to achieve a saleable surplus. With the development of the country, many people are engaged in manufacturing, mining, and other non-agricultural sectors. All of these people depend on the food production they may get from the country’s marketable surplus. With the development of the agricultural sector, production increased, which led to the expansion of saleable surpluses. This may be exported to other countries.
* Raw material source The main source of raw materials for major industries such as cotton and jute fabrics, sugar, tobacco, edible oil and non-edible oil is agriculture. In addition, the raw materials in many other industries such as fruit processing, vegetable processing, rice husk processing, etc. mainly come from agriculture.
* Foreign Exchange Resources
The country’s export trade depends to a large extent on the agricultural sector. For example, agricultural products such as jute, tobacco, spices, oilseeds, raw cotton, tea and coffee account for about 18% of a country’s total export value. This shows that agricultural products are still an important source of foreign exchange for a country.
* Economic development
Since agriculture employs many people, it contributes to economic development. Therefore, the level of national income and people’s living standards has been improved. The rapid development of the agricultural sector provides the prospect of progress and increases the motivation for development. Therefore, it helps to create a good atmosphere for the overall economic development of a country. Therefore, economic development depends on the growth rate of agriculture.
* Food security
A stable agricultural sector ensures a country’s food security. The main requirement of any country is food security. Food security can prevent malnutrition,which has always been considered one of the main problems faced by developing countries.
* Provide employment
Agriculture is still one of the largest sources of employment, and in many areas, it is actually booming. Whether it is as a farmer, harvester, farm equipment technician, scientist, etc., there are a lot of jobs available in this field. In developing countries, agricultural work helps reduce high unemployment. In terms of poverty reduction, there is evidence that focusing on agriculture is more effective than investing in other areas.
*It can help heal the environment
Agriculture has the power to hurt or heal. When farmers prioritize biodiversity on their land, it benefits the earth. Having more biodiversity leads to healthier soils, less erosion, better water protection, and healthier pollinators. This is good news for the entire environment, making agriculture an important part of the life cycle.
CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE
- Agricultural Mechanics
The field of agricultural machinery is vast, including several skilled jobs. You may want to consider a career as a technician, scientist, manager or engineer.
- Agricultural Engineer
One field of agriculture that requires an advanced degree in the field of engineering is agricultural engineering. Agriculture requires extensive use of machinery, buildings, water pipes and waste management, all of which require expertise to ensure the safety of the food supply. Engineers in the agricultural industry include positions in the design of equipment and machines.
There are some jobs in the agricultural business that are similar to other industry models. However, the focus of these business positions is the production of food through crops or animals.
- Agricultural Communication
Agriculture is such a big business that the internal departments of many major agricultural, agricultural and ranch companies are dedicated to promoting and marketing their products. Individuals involved in agricultural communication usually work as marketers, public relations experts, or journalists.
- Agricultural Economics
Someone must price, broker, and evaluate the agricultural economy on a daily and annual basis. In fact, the agricultural economy may be greatly affected by problems such as drought, floods and outbreaks of foodborne diseases. The role of agricultural economists is to solve these problems.
- Agricultural Agronomy
As an agronomist, you will learn about crops and the soil they need to grow. Your responsibilities include developing methods to improve soil use to improve crop production while maintaining soil health.
- Animal Science
Animal science solves the problems of livestock management and production. This includes related issues in biology, social sciences, and physics. Animal scientists can also find career paths in animal foods and animal-derived foods (such as dairy products and eggs).
- Food Science
Growing crops and livestock on pastures is one thing, but turning these resources into food ready to be placed on family tables around the world is another matter entirely. Individuals involved in food science deal with safety, research, and product development before food is put on the shelf.
BRANCHES OF AGRICULTURE
The two main branches of Agriculture are;
* Agronomy – this is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, feed and fiber
* Organic gardening – it is the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants, following the basic principles of organic agriculture in soil construction and protection, pest management and heirloom variety preservation.
* Animal husbandry-farming and raising agricultural practices for animal husbandry