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   Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products
   "Farming" redirects here. For other uses, see Farming (disambiguation).

   Maler der Grabkammer des Sennudem 001.jpg
     * History of organic farming
     * Neolithic Revolution
     * Agriculture in Mesopotamia
     * Austronesian Expansion
     * Agriculture in ancient Egypt
     * Agriculture in ancient Greece
     * Agriculture in ancient Rome
     * Agriculture in Mesoamerica
     * Agriculture in the Middle Ages
     * Arab Agricultural Revolution
     * Columbian exchange
     * British Agricultural Revolution
     * Green Revolution

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   Agriculture or farming is the practice of cultivating plants and
   livestock.^[1] Agriculture was the key development in the rise of
   sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species
   created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The
   history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering
   wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began
   to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were
   domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently
   cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture
   based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to
   dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still
   depended on subsistence agriculture.

   The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods,
   fibers, fuels, and raw materials (such as rubber). Food classes include
   cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meat, milk, eggs, and
   fungi. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in
   agriculture, second only to the service sector, although in recent
   decades, the global trend of a decreasing number of agricultural
   workers continues, especially in developing countries, where
   smallholding is being overtaken by industrial agriculture and
   mechanization that brings an enormous crop yield increase.

   Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and
   fertilizers, and technological developments have sharply increased crop
   yields, but cause ecological and environmental damage. Selective
   breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly
   increased the output of meat but have raised concerns about animal
   welfare and environmental damage. Environmental issues include
   contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, deforestation,
   antibiotic resistance, and other agricultural pollution. Agriculture is
   both a cause of and sensitive to environmental degradation, such as
   biodiversity loss, desertification, soil degradation, and global
   warming, all of which can cause decreases in crop yield. Genetically
   modified organisms are widely used, although some are banned in certain

   [ ]


     * 1 Etymology and scope
     * 2 History
          + 2.1 Origins
          + 2.2 Civilizations
          + 2.3 Revolution
     * 3 Types
     * 4 Contemporary agriculture
          + 4.1 Status
          + 4.2 Workforce
          + 4.3 Safety
     * 5 Production
          + 5.1 Crop cultivation systems
          + 5.2 Livestock production systems
          + 5.3 Production practices
          + 5.4 Effects of climate change on yields
     * 6 Crop alteration and biotechnology
          + 6.1 Plant breeding
          + 6.2 Genetic engineering
     * 7 Environmental impact
          + 7.1 Effects and costs
          + 7.2 Livestock issues
          + 7.3 Land and water issues
          + 7.4 Pesticides
          + 7.5 Contributions to climate change
          + 7.6 Sustainability
          + 7.7 Energy dependence
          + 7.8 Plastic pollution
     * 8 Disciplines
          + 8.1 Agricultural economics
          + 8.2 Agricultural science
     * 9 Policy
     * 10 See also
     * 11 References
     * 12 Cited sources
     * 13 External links

Etymology and scope

   Further information: Horticulture S: Scope

   The word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin
   agricultura, from ager 'field' and cultura 'cultivation' or
   'growing'.^[2] While agriculture usually refers to human activities,
   certain species of ant,^[3]^[4] termite and beetle have been
   cultivating crops for up to 60 million years.^[5] Agriculture is
   defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural
   resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food,
   fiber, forest products, horticultural crops, and their related
   services".^[6] Thus defined, it includes arable farming, horticulture,
   animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in
   practice often excluded.^[6] It may also be broadly decomposed into
   plant agriculture, which concerns the cultivation of useful plants,^[7]
   and animal agriculture, the production of agricultural animals.^[8]


   Centres of origin, as numbered by Nikolai Vavilov in the 1930s. Area 3
   (gray) is no longer recognised as a centre of origin, and New Guinea
   (area P, orange) was identified more recently.^[9]^[10]
   Main article: History of agriculture


   Main article: Neolithic Revolution

   The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow
   many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and
   gathering.^[11] Agriculture began independently in different parts of
   the globe,^[12] and included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11
   separate centers of origin.^[9] Wild grains were collected and eaten
   from at least 105,000 years ago.^[13] In the Paleolithic Levant, 23,000
   years ago, cereals cultivation of emmer, barley, and oats has been
   observed near the sea of Galilee.^[14]^[15] Rice was domesticated in
   China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation
   from 5,700 BC,^[16] followed by mung, soy and azuki beans. Sheep were
   domesticated in Mesopotamia between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago.^[17]
   Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern
   Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago.^[18] Pig production emerged
   in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia,^[19] where
   wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.^[20] 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,^[21] and was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In
   Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago.^[22]
   Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical
   origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer
   to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification
   and increasing sedentism; examples are the Natufian culture in the
   Levant, and the Early Chinese Neolithic in China. Then, wild stands
   that had previously been harvested started to be planted, and gradually
   came to be domesticated.^[23]^[24]^[25]


   In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000
   BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for
   irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC; seed-ploughs
   around 2,300 BC. Farmers grew wheat, barley, vegetables such as lentils
   and onions, and fruits including dates, grapes, and figs.^[26] Ancient
   Egyptian agriculture relied on the Nile River and its seasonal
   flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the
   Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as
   wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and
   papyrus.^[27]^[28] In India, wheat, barley and jujube were domesticated
   by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats.^[29] Cattle, sheep and
   goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000-6,000
   BC.^[30]^[31]^[32] Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium
   BC.^[33] Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from
   2,500 BC in the Indus Valley civilisation.^[34]

   In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system
   and widespread silk farming.^[35] Water-powered grain mills were in use
   by the 1st century BC,^[36] followed by irrigation.^[37] By the late
   2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron ploughshares
   and mouldboards.^[38]^[39] These spread westwards across Eurasia.^[40]
   Asian rice was domesticated 8,200-13,500 years ago - depending on the
   molecular clock estimate that is used^[41]- on the Pearl River in
   southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza
   rufipogon.^[42] In Greece and Rome, the major cereals were wheat,
   emmer, and barley, alongside vegetables including peas, beans, and
   olives. Sheep and goats were kept mainly for dairy products.^[43]^[44]
   Agricultural scenes of threshing, a grain store, harvesting with
   sickles, digging, tree-cutting and ploughing from ancient Egypt. Tomb
   of Nakht, 15th century BC

   In the Americas, crops domesticated in Mesoamerica (apart from
   teosinte) include squash, beans, and cacao.^[45] Cocoa was being
   domesticated by the Mayo Chinchipe of the upper Amazon around 3,000
   BC.^[46] The turkey was probably domesticated in Mexico or the American
   Southwest.^[47] The Aztecs developed irrigation systems, formed
   terraced hillsides, fertilized their soil, and developed chinampas or
   artificial islands. The Mayas used extensive canal and raised field
   systems to farm swampland from 400 BC.^[48]^[49]^[50]^[51]^[52] Coca
   was domesticated in the Andes, as were the peanut, tomato, tobacco, and
   pineapple.^[45] Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 3,600 BC.^[53]
   Animals including llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs were domesticated
   there.^[54] In North America, the indigenous people of the East
   domesticated crops such as sunflower, tobacco,^[55] squash and
   Chenopodium.^[56]^[57] Wild foods including wild rice and maple sugar
   were harvested.^[58] The domesticated strawberry is a hybrid of a
   Chilean and a North American species, developed by breeding in Europe
   and North America.^[59] The indigenous people of the Southwest and the
   Pacific Northwest practiced forest gardening and fire-stick farming.
   The natives controlled fire on a regional scale to create a
   low-intensity fire ecology that sustained a low-density agriculture in
   loose rotation; a sort of "wild" permaculture.^[60]^[61]^[62]^[63] A
   system of companion planting called the Three Sisters was developed in
   North America. The three crops were winter squash, maize, and climbing

   Indigenous Australians, long supposed to have been nomadic
   hunter-gatherers, practised systematic burning, possibly to enhance
   natural productivity in fire-stick farming.^[66] Scholars have pointed
   out that hunter-gatherers need a productive environment to support
   gathering without cultivation. Because the forests of New Guinea have
   few food plants, early humans may have used "selective burning" to
   increase the productivity of the wild karuka fruit trees to support the
   hunter-gatherer way of life.^[67]

   The Gunditjmara and other groups developed eel farming and fish
   trapping systems from some 5,000 years ago.^[68] There is evidence of
   'intensification' across the whole continent over that period.^[69] In
   two regions of Australia, the central west coast and eastern central,
   early farmers cultivated yams, native millet, and bush onions, possibly
   in permanent settlements.^[25]^[70]


   Agricultural calendar, c. 1470, from a manuscript of Pietro de

   In the Middle Ages, compared to the Roman period, agriculture in
   Western Europe became more focused on self-sufficiency. The
   agricultural population under feudalism was typically organized into
   manors consisting of several hundred or more acres of land presided
   over by a Lord with a Roman Catholic church and priest.^[71]

   Thanks to the exchange with the Al-Andalus where the Arab agricultural
   revolution was underway, European agriculture transformed with improved
   techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction
   of sugar, rice, cotton and fruit trees (such as the orange).^[72]

   After 1492 the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as
   maize, potatoes, tomatoes, 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.^[73]

   Irrigation, crop rotation, and fertilizers advanced from the 17th
   century with the British Agricultural Revolution, allowing global
   population to rise significantly. Since 1900 agriculture in developed
   nations, and to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large
   rises in productivity as mechanization replaces human labor, 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 and
   sustaining a further increase in global population.^[74]^[75] Modern
   agriculture has raised or encountered ecological, political, and
   economic issues including water pollution, biofuels, genetically
   modified organisms, tariffs and farm subsidies, leading to alternative
   approaches such as the organic movement.^[76]^[77] In the 1930, there
   was a Dust Bowl in the United States with tragic consequences.^[78]


   Reindeer herds form the basis of pastoral agriculture for several
   Arctic and Subarctic peoples.
   Harvesting wheat with a combine harvester accompanied by a tractor and

   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
   Spreading manure by hand in Zambia

   In shifting cultivation, a small area of forest is cleared by cutting
   and burning the trees. The cleared land is used for growing crops for a
   few years until the soil becomes too infertile, and the area is
   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.^[80]

   Subsistence 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.^[81] An estimated 2.5
   billion subsistence farmers worked in 2018, cultivating about 60% of
   the earth's arable land.^[82]

   Intensive farming is cultivation to maximise productivity, with a low
   fallow ratio and a high use of inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticide and
   automation). It is practiced mainly in developed countries.^[83]^[84]

Contemporary agriculture


   China has the largest agricultural output of any country.^[85]

   From the twentieth century, intensive agriculture increased
   productivity of crops. It substituted synthetic fertilizers and
   pesticides for labour, but caused increased water pollution, and often
   involved farm subsidies. In recent years there has been a backlash
   against the environmental effects of conventional agriculture,
   resulting in the organic, regenerative, and sustainable agriculture
   movements.^[76]^[86] One of the major forces behind this movement has
   been the European Union, which first certified organic food in 1991 and
   began reform of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2005 to phase
   out commodity-linked farm subsidies,^[87] also known as decoupling. The
   growth of organic farming has renewed research in alternative
   technologies such as integrated pest management, selective
   breeding,^[88] and controlled-environment agriculture.^[89]^[90] Recent
   mainstream technological developments include genetically modified
   food.^[91] Demand for non-food biofuel crops,^[92] development of
   former farm lands, rising transportation costs, climate change, growing
   consumer demand in China and India, and population growth,^[93] are
   threatening food security in many parts of the
   world.^[94]^[95]^[96]^[97]^[98] The International Fund for Agricultural
   Development posits that an increase in smallholder agriculture may be
   part of the solution to concerns about food prices and overall food
   security, given the favorable experience of Vietnam.^[99] Soil
   degradation and diseases such as stem rust are major concerns
   globally;^[100] approximately 40% of the world's agricultural land is
   seriously degraded.^[101]^[102] By 2015, the agricultural output of
   China was the largest in the world, followed by the European Union,
   India and the United States.^[85] Economists measure the total factor
   productivity of agriculture and by this measure agriculture in the
   United States is roughly 1.7 times more productive than it was in


   On the three-sector theory, the proportion of people working in
   agriculture (left-hard bar in each group, green) falls as an economy
   becomes more developed.

   Following the three-sector theory, the number of people employed in
   agriculture and other primary activities (such as fishing) can be more
   than 80% in the least developed countries, and less than 2% in the most
   highly developed countries.^[104] Since the Industrial Revolution, many
   countries have made the transition to developed economies, and the
   proportion of people working in agriculture has steadily fallen. During
   the 16th century in Europe, for example, between 55 and 75% of the
   population was engaged in agriculture; by the 19th century, this had
   dropped to between 35 and 65%.^[105] In the same countries today, the
   figure is less than 10%.^[104] At the start of the 21st century, some
   one billion people, or over 1/3 of the available work force, were
   employed in agriculture. It constitutes approximately 70% of the global
   employment of children, and in many countries employs the largest
   percentage of women of any industry.^[106] The service sector overtook
   the agricultural sector as the largest global employer in 2007.^[107]


   Rollover protection bar retrofitted to a mid-20th century Fordson

   Main article: Agricultural safety and health

   Agriculture, specifically farming, remains a hazardous industry, and
   farmers worldwide remain at high risk of work-related injuries, lung
   disease, noise-induced hearing loss, skin diseases, as well as certain
   cancers related to chemical use and prolonged sun exposure. On
   industrialized farms, injuries frequently involve the use of
   agricultural machinery, and a common cause of fatal agricultural
   injuries in developed countries is tractor rollovers.^[108] Pesticides
   and other chemicals used in farming can be hazardous to worker health,
   and workers exposed to pesticides may experience illness or have
   children with birth defects.^[109] As an industry in which families
   commonly share in work and live on the farm itself, entire families can
   be at risk for injuries, illness, and death.^[110] Ages 0-6 May be an
   especially vulnerable population in agriculture;^[111] common causes of
   fatal injuries among young farm workers include drowning, machinery and
   motor accidents, including with all-terrain vehicles.^[110]^[111]^[112]

   The International Labour Organization considers agriculture "one of the
   most hazardous of all economic sectors".^[106] It estimates that the
   annual work-related death toll among agricultural employees is at least
   170,000, twice the average rate of other jobs. In addition, incidences
   of death, injury and illness related to agricultural activities often
   go unreported.^[113] The organization has developed the Safety and
   Health in Agriculture Convention, 2001, which covers the range of risks
   in the agriculture occupation, the prevention of these risks and the
   role that individuals and organizations engaged in agriculture should

   In the United States, agriculture has been identified by the National
   Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a priority industry
   sector in the National Occupational Research Agenda to identify and
   provide intervention strategies for occupational health and safety
   issues.^[114]^[115] In the European Union, the European Agency for
   Safety and Health at Work has issued guidelines on implementing health
   and safety directives in agriculture, livestock farming, horticulture,
   and forestry.^[116] The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of
   America (ASHCA) also holds a yearly summit to discuss safety.^[117]


   Main article: List of countries by GDP sector composition

   See also: List of most important agricultural crops worldwide

   Value of agricultural production, 2016^[118]

   Overall production varies by country as listed.

   Largest countries by agricultural output (in nominal terms) according
   to IMF and CIA World Factbook, at peak level as of 2018


   Countries by agricultural output (in nominal terms) at peak level as of
   2018 (billions in USD)
       (01)  China
       (02)  India
   (--)  European Union
   (03)  United States
       (04)  Brazil
     (05)  Indonesia
      (06)  Nigeria
       (07)  Russia
      (08)  Pakistan
     (09)  Argentina
       (10)  Turkey
       (11)  Japan
       (12)  France
        (13)  Iran
     (14)  Australia
       (15)  Mexico
       (16)  Italy
       (17)  Spain
     (18)  Bangladesh
      (19)  Thailand
       (20)  Egypt

   The twenty largest countries by agricultural output (in nominal terms)
   at peak level as of 2018, according to the IMF and CIA World Factbook.

   Largest countries by agricultural output according to UNCTAD at 2005
   constant prices and exchange rates, 2015^[85]


   Countries by agricultural output in 2015 (millions in 2005 constant USD
   and exchange rates)
       (01)  China
       (02)  India
   (03)  United States
      (04)  Nigeria
      (05)  Brazil

  Crop cultivation systems

   Slash and burn shifting cultivation, Thailand

   Cropping systems vary among farms depending on the available resources
   and constraints; geography and climate of the farm; government policy;
   economic, social and political pressures; and the philosophy and
   culture of the farmer.^[119]^[120]

   Shifting cultivation (or slash and burn) is a system in which forests
   are burnt, releasing nutrients to support cultivation of annual and
   then perennial crops for a period of several years.^[121] Then the plot
   is left fallow to regrow forest, and the farmer moves to a new plot,
   returning after many more years (10-20). This fallow period is
   shortened if population density grows, requiring the input of nutrients
   (fertilizer or manure) and some manual pest control. Annual cultivation
   is the next phase of intensity in which there is no fallow period. This
   requires even greater nutrient and pest control inputs.^[121]

   Intercropping of coconut and Mexican marigold

   Further industrialization led to the use of monocultures, when one
   cultivar is planted on a large acreage. Because of the low
   biodiversity, nutrient use is uniform and pests tend to build up,
   necessitating the greater use of pesticides and fertilizers.^[120]
   Multiple cropping, in which several crops are grown sequentially in one
   year, and intercropping, when several crops are grown at the same time,
   are other kinds of annual cropping systems known as polycultures.^[121]

   In subtropical and arid environments, the timing and extent of
   agriculture may be limited by rainfall, either not allowing multiple
   annual crops in a year, or requiring irrigation. In all of these
   environments perennial crops are grown (coffee, chocolate) and systems
   are practiced such as agroforestry. In temperate environments, where
   ecosystems were predominantly grassland or prairie, highly productive
   annual farming is the dominant agricultural system.^[121]

   Important categories of food crops include cereals, legumes, forage,
   fruits and vegetables.^[122] Natural fibers include cotton, wool, hemp,
   silk and flax.^[123] Specific crops are cultivated in distinct growing
   regions throughout the world. Production is listed in millions of
   metric tons, based on FAO estimates.^[122]

   Top agricultural products, by crop types
   (million tonnes) 2004 data
   Cereals               2,263
   Vegetables and melons 866
   Roots and tubers      715
   Milk                  619
   Fruit                 503
   Meat                  259
   Oilcrops              133
   Fish (2001 estimate)  130
   Eggs                  63
   Pulses                60
   Vegetable fiber       30
   Source: Food and Agriculture Organization^[122]

   Top agricultural products, by individual crops
   (million tonnes) 2011 data
   Sugar cane 1794
   Maize      883
   Rice       722
   Wheat      704
   Potatoes   374
   Sugar beet 271
   Soybeans   260
   Cassava    252
   Tomatoes   159
   Barley     134
   Source: Food and Agriculture Organization^[122]

  Livestock production systems

   Main articles: Livestock and Animal husbandry

   See also: List of domesticated animals

   Intensively farmed pigs

   Animal husbandry is the breeding and raising of animals for meat, milk,
   eggs, or wool, and for work and transport.^[124] Working animals,
   including horses, mules, oxen, water buffalo, camels, llamas, alpacas,
   donkeys, and dogs, have for centuries been used to help cultivate
   fields, harvest crops, wrangle other animals, and transport farm
   products to buyers.^[125]

   Livestock production systems can be defined based on feed source, as
   grassland-based, mixed, and landless.^[126] As of 2010^[update], 30% of
   Earth's ice- and water-free area was used for producing livestock, with
   the sector employing approximately 1.3 billion people. Between the
   1960s and the 2000s, there was a significant increase in livestock
   production, both by numbers and by carcass weight, especially among
   beef, pigs and chickens, the latter of which had production increased
   by almost a factor of 10. Non-meat animals, such as milk cows and
   egg-producing chickens, also showed significant production increases.
   Global cattle, sheep and goat populations are expected to continue to
   increase sharply through 2050.^[127] Aquaculture or fish farming, the
   production of fish for human consumption in confined operations, is one
   of the fastest growing sectors of food production, growing at an
   average of 9% a year between 1975 and 2007.^[128]

   During the second half of the 20th century, producers using selective
   breeding focused on creating livestock breeds and crossbreeds that
   increased production, while mostly disregarding the need to preserve
   genetic diversity. This trend has led to a significant decrease in
   genetic diversity and resources among livestock breeds, leading to a
   corresponding decrease in disease resistance and local adaptations
   previously found among traditional breeds.^[129]

   Raising chickens intensively for meat in a broiler house

   Grassland based livestock production relies upon plant material such as
   shrubland, rangeland, and pastures for feeding ruminant animals.
   Outside nutrient inputs may be used, however manure is returned
   directly to the grassland as a major nutrient source. This system is
   particularly important in areas where crop production is not feasible
   because of climate or soil, representing 30-40 million
   pastoralists.^[121] Mixed production systems use grassland, fodder
   crops and grain feed crops as feed for ruminant and monogastric (one
   stomach; mainly chickens and pigs) livestock. Manure is typically
   recycled in mixed systems as a fertilizer for crops.^[126]

   Landless systems rely upon feed from outside the farm, representing the
   de-linking of crop and livestock production found more prevalently in
   Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member
   countries. Synthetic fertilizers are more heavily relied upon for crop
   production and manure use becomes a challenge as well as a source for
   pollution.^[126] Industrialized countries use these operations to
   produce much of the global supplies of poultry and pork. Scientists
   estimate that 75% of the growth in livestock production between 2003
   and 2030 will be in confined animal feeding operations, sometimes
   called factory farming. Much of this growth is happening in developing
   countries in Asia, with much smaller amounts of growth in Africa.^[127]
   Some of the practices used in commercial livestock production,
   including the usage of growth hormones, are controversial.^[130]

  Production practices

   Tilling an arable field

   Further information: Tillage, Crop rotation, and Irrigation

   Tillage is the practice of breaking up the soil with tools such as the
   plow or harrow to prepare for planting, for nutrient incorporation, or
   for pest control. Tillage varies in intensity from conventional to
   no-till. It may improve productivity by warming the soil, incorporating
   fertilizer and controlling weeds, but also renders soil more prone to
   erosion, triggers the decomposition of organic matter releasing CO[2],
   and reduces the abundance and diversity of soil organisms.^[131]^[132]

   Pest control includes the management of weeds, insects, mites, and
   diseases. Chemical (pesticides), biological (biocontrol), mechanical
   (tillage), and cultural practices are used. Cultural practices include
   crop rotation, culling, cover crops, intercropping, composting,
   avoidance, and resistance. Integrated pest management attempts to use
   all of these methods to keep pest populations below the number which
   would cause economic loss, and recommends pesticides as a last

   Nutrient management includes both the source of nutrient inputs for
   crop and livestock production, and the method of use of manure produced
   by livestock. Nutrient inputs can be chemical inorganic fertilizers,
   manure, green manure, compost and minerals.^[134] Crop nutrient use may
   also be managed using cultural techniques such as crop rotation or a
   fallow period. Manure is used either by holding livestock where the
   feed crop is growing, such as in managed intensive rotational grazing,
   or by spreading either dry or liquid formulations of manure on cropland
   or pastures.^[131]^[135]

   A center pivot irrigation system

   Water management is needed where rainfall is insufficient or variable,
   which occurs to some degree in most regions of the world.^[121] Some
   farmers use irrigation to supplement rainfall. In other areas such as
   the Great Plains in the U.S. and Canada, farmers use a fallow year to
   conserve soil moisture to use for growing a crop in the following
   year.^[136] Agriculture represents 70% of freshwater use

   According to a report by the International Food Policy Research
   Institute, agricultural technologies will have the greatest impact on
   food production if adopted in combination with each other; using a
   model that assessed how eleven technologies could impact agricultural
   productivity, food security and trade by 2050, the International Food
   Policy Research Institute found that the number of people at risk from
   hunger could be reduced by as much as 40% and food prices could be
   reduced by almost half.^[138]

   Payment for ecosystem services is a method of providing additional
   incentives to encourage farmers to conserve some aspects of the
   environment. Measures might include paying for reforestation upstream
   of a city, to improve the supply of fresh water.^[139]

  Effects of climate change on yields

   Main article: Effects of climate change on agriculture

   Winnowing grain: global warming will probably harm crop yields in low
   latitude countries like Ethiopia.

   Climate change and agriculture are interrelated on a global scale.
   Global warming affects agriculture through changes in average
   temperatures, rainfall, and weather extremes (like storms and heat
   waves); changes in pests and diseases; changes in atmospheric carbon
   dioxide and ground-level ozone concentrations; changes in the
   nutritional quality of some foods;^[140] and changes in sea
   level.^[141] Global warming is already affecting agriculture, with
   effects unevenly distributed across the world.^[142] Future climate
   change will probably negatively affect crop production in low latitude
   countries, while effects in northern latitudes may be positive or
   negative.^[142] Global warming will probably increase the risk of food
   insecurity for some vulnerable groups, such as the poor.^[143]

Crop alteration and biotechnology

  Plant breeding

   Main article: Plant breeding

   Wheat cultivar tolerant of high salinity (left) compared with
   non-tolerant variety

   Crop alteration has been practiced by humankind for thousands of years,
   since the beginning of civilization. Altering crops through breeding
   practices changes the genetic make-up of a plant to develop crops with
   more beneficial characteristics for humans, for example, larger fruits
   or seeds, drought-tolerance, or resistance to pests. Significant
   advances in plant breeding ensued after the work of geneticist Gregor
   Mendel. His work on dominant and recessive alleles, although initially
   largely ignored for almost 50 years, gave plant breeders a better
   understanding of genetics and breeding techniques. Crop breeding
   includes techniques such as plant selection with desirable traits,
   self-pollination and cross-pollination, and molecular techniques that
   genetically modify the organism.^[144]

   Domestication of plants has, over the centuries increased yield,
   improved disease resistance and drought tolerance, eased harvest and
   improved the taste and nutritional value of crop plants. Careful
   selection and breeding have had enormous effects on the characteristics
   of crop plants. Plant selection and breeding in the 1920s and 1930s
   improved pasture (grasses and clover) in New Zealand. Extensive X-ray
   and ultraviolet induced mutagenesis efforts (i.e. primitive genetic
   engineering) during the 1950s produced the modern commercial varieties
   of grains such as wheat, corn (maize) and barley.^[145]^[146]

   Seedlings in a green house. This is what it looks like when seedlings
   are growing from plant breeding.

   The Green Revolution popularized the use of conventional hybridization
   to sharply increase yield by creating "high-yielding varieties". For
   example, average yields of corn (maize) in the US have increased from
   around 2.5 tons per hectare (t/ha) (40 bushels per acre) in 1900 to
   about 9.4 t/ha (150 bushels per acre) in 2001. Similarly, worldwide
   average wheat yields have increased from less than 1 t/ha in 1900 to
   more than 2.5 t/ha in 1990. South American average wheat yields are
   around 2 t/ha, African under 1 t/ha, and Egypt and Arabia up to 3.5 to
   4 t/ha with irrigation. In contrast, the average wheat yield in
   countries such as France is over 8 t/ha. Variations in yields are due
   mainly to variation in climate, genetics, and the level of intensive
   farming techniques (use of fertilizers, chemical pest control, growth
   control to avoid lodging).^[147]^[148]^[149]

  Genetic engineering

   Main article: Genetic engineering

   See also: Genetically modified food, Genetically modified crops,
   Regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms, and
   Genetically modified food controversies

   Genetically modified potato plants (left) resist virus diseases that
   damage unmodified plants (right).

   Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are organisms whose genetic
   material has been altered by genetic engineering techniques generally
   known as recombinant DNA technology. Genetic engineering has expanded
   the genes available to breeders to use in creating desired germlines
   for new crops. Increased durability, nutritional content, insect and
   virus resistance and herbicide tolerance are a few of the attributes
   bred into crops through genetic engineering.^[150] For some, GMO crops
   cause food safety and food labeling concerns. Numerous countries have
   placed restrictions on the production, import or use of GMO foods and
   crops.^[151] Currently a global treaty, the Biosafety Protocol,
   regulates the trade of GMOs. There is ongoing discussion regarding the
   labeling of foods made from GMOs, and while the EU currently requires
   all GMO foods to be labeled, the US does not.^[152]

   Herbicide-resistant seed has a gene implanted into its genome that
   allows the plants to tolerate exposure to herbicides, including
   glyphosate. These seeds allow the farmer to grow a crop that can be
   sprayed with herbicides to control weeds without harming the resistant
   crop. Herbicide-tolerant crops are used by farmers worldwide.^[153]
   With the increasing use of herbicide-tolerant crops, comes an increase
   in the use of glyphosate-based herbicide sprays. In some areas
   glyphosate resistant weeds have developed, causing farmers to switch to
   other herbicides.^[154]^[155] Some studies also link widespread
   glyphosate usage to iron deficiencies in some crops, which is both a
   crop production and a nutritional quality concern, with potential
   economic and health implications.^[156]

   Other GMO crops used by growers include insect-resistant crops, which
   have a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which
   produces a toxin specific to insects. These crops resist damage by
   insects.^[157] Some believe that similar or better pest-resistance
   traits can be acquired through traditional breeding practices, and
   resistance to various pests can be gained through hybridization or
   cross-pollination with wild species. In some cases, wild species are
   the primary source of resistance traits; some tomato cultivars that
   have gained resistance to at least 19 diseases did so through crossing
   with wild populations of tomatoes.^[158]

Environmental impact

   Main article: Environmental issues with agriculture

  Effects and costs

   Water pollution in a rural stream due to runoff from farming activity
   in New Zealand

   Agriculture is both a cause of and sensitive to environmental
   degradation, such as biodiversity loss, desertification, soil
   degradation and global warming, which cause decrease in crop
   yield.^[159] Agriculture is one of the most important drivers of
   environmental pressures, particularly habitat change, climate change,
   water use and toxic emissions. Agriculture is the main source of toxins
   released into the environment, including insecticides, especially those
   used on cotton.^[160]^[161]^[page needed] The 2011 UNEP Green Economy
   report stated that agricultural operations produced some 13 per cent of
   anthropogenic global greenhouse gas emissions. This includes gases from
   the use of inorganic fertilizers, agro-chemical pesticides, and
   herbicides, as well as fossil fuel-energy inputs.^[162]

   Agriculture imposes multiple external costs upon society through
   effects such as pesticide damage to nature (especially herbicides and
   insecticides), nutrient runoff, excessive water usage, and loss of
   natural environment. A 2000 assessment of agriculture in the UK
   determined total external costs for 1996 of -L-2,343 million, or -L-208
   per hectare.^[163] A 2005 analysis of these costs in the US concluded
   that cropland imposes approximately $5 to $16 billion ($30 to $96 per
   hectare), while livestock production imposes $714 million.^[164] Both
   studies, which focused solely on the fiscal impacts, concluded that
   more should be done to internalize external costs. Neither included
   subsidies in their analysis, but they noted that subsidies also
   influence the cost of agriculture to society.^[163]^[164]

   Agriculture seeks to increase yield and to reduce costs. Yield
   increases with inputs such as fertilisers and removal of pathogens,
   predators, and competitors (such as weeds). Costs decrease with
   increasing scale of farm units, such as making fields larger; this
   means removing hedges, ditches and other areas of habitat. Pesticides
   kill insects, plants and fungi. These and other measures have cut
   biodiversity to very low levels on intensively farmed land.^[165]
   Effective yields fall with on-farm losses, which may be caused by poor
   production practices during harvesting, handling, and storage.^[166]

  Livestock issues

   Farmyard anaerobic digester converts waste plant material and manure
   from livestock into biogas fuel.

   A senior UN official, Henning Steinfeld, said that "Livestock are one
   of the most significant contributors to today's most serious
   environmental problems".^[167] Livestock production occupies 70% of all
   land used for agriculture, or 30% of the land surface of the planet. It
   is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, responsible for 18%
   of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO[2]
   equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the
   CO[2]. It produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide (which has 296
   times the global warming potential of CO[2]) and 37% of all
   human-induced methane (which is 23 times as warming as CO[2].) It also
   generates 64% of the ammonia emission. Livestock expansion is cited as
   a key factor driving deforestation; in the Amazon basin 70% of
   previously forested area is now occupied by pastures and the remainder
   used for feed crops.^[168] Through deforestation and land degradation,
   livestock is also driving reductions in biodiversity. Furthermore, the
   UNEP states that "methane emissions from global livestock are projected
   to increase by 60 per cent by 2030 under current practices and
   consumption patterns."^[162]

  Land and water issues

   See also: Environmental impact of irrigation

   Circular irrigated crop fields in Kansas. Healthy, growing crops of
   corn and sorghum are green (sorghum may be slightly paler). Wheat is
   brilliant gold. Fields of brown have been recently harvested and plowed
   or have lain in fallow for the year.

   Land transformation, the use of land to yield goods and services, is
   the most substantial way humans alter the Earth's ecosystems, and is
   the driving force causing biodiversity loss. Estimates of the amount of
   land transformed by humans vary from 39 to 50%.^[169] Land degradation,
   the long-term decline in ecosystem function and productivity, is
   estimated to be occurring on 24% of land worldwide, with cropland
   overrepresented.^[170] Land management is the driving factor behind
   degradation; 1.5 billion people rely upon the degrading land.
   Degradation can be through deforestation, desertification, soil
   erosion, mineral depletion, acidification, or salinization.^[121]

   Eutrophication, excessive nutrient enrichment in aquatic ecosystems
   resulting in algal blooms and anoxia, leads to fish kills, loss of
   biodiversity, and renders water unfit for drinking and other industrial
   uses. Excessive fertilization and manure application to cropland, as
   well as high livestock stocking densities cause nutrient (mainly
   nitrogen and phosphorus) runoff and leaching from agricultural land.
   These nutrients are major nonpoint pollutants contributing to
   eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems and pollution of groundwater, with
   harmful effects on human populations.^[171] Fertilisers also reduce
   terrestrial biodiversity by increasing competition for light, favouring
   those species that are able to benefit from the added nutrients.^[172]
   Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of withdrawals of freshwater
   resources.^[173]^[174] Agriculture is a major draw on water from
   aquifers, and currently draws from those underground water sources at
   an unsustainable rate. It is long known that aquifers in areas as
   diverse as northern China, the Upper Ganges and the western US are
   being depleted, and new research extends these problems to aquifers in
   Iran, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.^[175] Increasing pressure is being
   placed on water resources by industry and urban areas, meaning that
   water scarcity is increasing and agriculture is facing the challenge of
   producing more food for the world's growing population with reduced
   water resources.^[176] Agricultural water usage can also cause major
   environmental problems, including the destruction of natural wetlands,
   the spread of water-borne diseases, and land degradation through
   salinization and waterlogging, when irrigation is performed


   Main article: Environmental impact of pesticides

   Spraying a crop with a pesticide

   Pesticide use has increased since 1950 to 2.5 million short tons
   annually worldwide, yet crop loss from pests has remained relatively
   constant.^[178] The World Health Organization estimated in 1992 that
   three million pesticide poisonings occur annually, causing 220,000
   deaths.^[179] Pesticides select for pesticide resistance in the pest
   population, leading to a condition termed the "pesticide treadmill" in
   which pest resistance warrants the development of a new

   An alternative argument is that the way to "save the environment" and
   prevent famine is by using pesticides and intensive high yield farming,
   a view exemplified by a quote heading the Center for Global Food Issues
   website: 'Growing more per acre leaves more land for
   nature'.^[181]^[182] However, critics argue that a trade-off between
   the environment and a need for food is not inevitable,^[183] and that
   pesticides simply replace good agronomic practices such as crop
   rotation.^[180] The Push-pull agricultural pest management technique
   involves intercropping, using plant aromas to repel pests from crops
   (push) and to lure them to a place from which they can then be removed

  Contributions to climate change

   Main article: Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

   Agriculture, and in particular animal husbandry, is responsible for
   greenhouse gas emissions of CO[2] and a percentage of the world's
   methane, and future land infertility, and the displacement of wildlife.
   Agriculture contributes to climate change by anthropogenic emissions of
   greenhouse gases, and by the conversion of non-agricultural land such
   as forest for agricultural use.^[185] Agriculture, forestry and
   land-use change contributed around 20 to 25% to global annual emissions
   in 2010.^[186] A range of policies can reduce the risk of negative
   climate change impacts on agriculture,^[187]^[188] and greenhouse gas
   emissions from the agriculture sector.^[189]^[190]^[191]


   Terraces, conservation tillage and conservation buffers reduce soil
   erosion and water pollution on this farm in Iowa.

   Main article: Sustainable agriculture

   Current farming methods have resulted in over-stretched water
   resources, high levels of erosion and reduced soil fertility. There is
   not enough water to continue farming using current practices; therefore
   how critical water, land, and ecosystem resources are used to boost
   crop yields must be reconsidered. A solution would be to give value to
   ecosystems, recognizing environmental and livelihood tradeoffs, and
   balancing the rights of a variety of users and interests.^[192]
   Inequities that result when such measures are adopted would need to be
   addressed, such as the reallocation of water from poor to rich, the
   clearing of land to make way for more productive farmland, or the
   preservation of a wetland system that limits fishing rights.^[193]

   Technological advancements help provide farmers with tools and
   resources to make farming more sustainable.^[194] Technology permits
   innovations like conservation tillage, a farming process which helps
   prevent land loss to erosion, reduces water pollution, and enhances
   carbon sequestration.^[195] Other potential practices include
   conservation agriculture, agroforestry, improved grazing, avoided
   grassland conversion, and biochar.^[196]^[197] Current mono-crop
   farming practices in the United States preclude widespread adoption of
   sustainable practices, such as 2-3 crop rotations that incorporate
   grass or hay with annual crops, unless negative emission goals such as
   soil carbon sequestration become policy.^[198]

   The International Food Policy Research Institute states that
   agricultural technologies will have the greatest impact on food
   production if adopted in combination with each other; using a model
   that assessed how eleven technologies could impact agricultural
   productivity, food security and trade by 2050, it found that the number
   of people at risk from hunger could be reduced by as much as 40% and
   food prices could be reduced by almost half.^[138] The food demand of
   Earth's projected population, with current climate change predictions,
   could be satisfied by improvement of agricultural methods, expansion of
   agricultural areas, and a sustainability-oriented consumer

  Energy dependence

   Mechanised agriculture: from the first models in the 1940s, tools like
   a cotton picker could replace 50 farm workers, at the price of
   increased use of fossil fuel.

   Since the 1940s, agricultural productivity has increased dramatically,
   due largely to the increased use of energy-intensive mechanization,
   fertilizers and pesticides. The vast majority of this energy input
   comes from fossil fuel sources.^[200] Between the 1960s and the 1980s,
   the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, with
   world grain production increasing significantly (between 70% and 390%
   for wheat and 60% to 150% for rice, depending on geographic area)^[201]
   as world population doubled. Heavy reliance on petrochemicals has
   raised concerns that oil shortages could increase costs and reduce
   agricultural output.^[202]

   Industrialized agriculture depends on fossil fuels in two fundamental
   ways: direct consumption on the farm and manufacture of inputs used on
   the farm. Direct consumption includes the use of lubricants and fuels
   to operate farm vehicles and machinery.^[202]

   Agriculture and food system share (%) of total energy
   consumption by three industrialized nations^[needs update]
   Country Year Agriculture
   (direct & indirect) Food
   United Kingdom^[203] 2005 1.9 11
   United States^[204] 2002 2.0 14
   Sweden^[205] 2000 2.5 13

   Indirect consumption includes the manufacture of fertilizers,
   pesticides, and farm machinery.^[202] In particular, the production of
   nitrogen fertilizer can account for over half of agricultural energy
   usage.^[206] Together, direct and indirect consumption by US farms
   accounts for about 2% of the nation's energy use. Direct and indirect
   energy consumption by U.S. farms peaked in 1979, and has since
   gradually declined.^[202] Food systems encompass not just agriculture
   but off-farm processing, packaging, transporting, marketing,
   consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items. Agriculture
   accounts for less than one-fifth of food system energy use in the

  Plastic pollution

   Main articles: Plastic pollution and plasticulture

   Plastic products are used extensively in agriculture, for example to
   increase crop yield and improve the efficiency of water and
   agrichemical use. "Agriplastic" products include films to cover
   greenhouses and tunnels, mulch to cover soil (e.g. to suppress weeds,
   conserve water, increase soil temperature and aid fertilizer
   application), shade cloth, pesticide containers, seedling trays,
   protective mesh and irrigation tubing. The polymers most commonly used
   in these products are low- density polyethylene (LPDE), linear
   low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl
   chloride (PVC).^[208]

   The total amount of plastics used in agriculture is difficult to
   quantify. A 2012 study reported that almost 6.5 million tonnes per year
   were consumed globally while a later study estimated that global demand
   in 2015 was between 7.3 million and 9 million tonnes. Widespread use of
   plastic mulch and lack of systematic collection and management have led
   to the generation of large amounts of mulch residue. Weathering and
   degradation eventually cause the mulch to fragment. These fragments and
   larger pieces of plastic accumulate in soil. Mulch residue has been
   measured at levels of 50 to 260 kg per hectare in topsoil in areas
   where the mulch has been used for more than 10 years, which confirms
   that mulching is a major source of both microplastic and macroplastic
   contamination of soil.^[208]

   Agricultural plastics, especially plastic films, are not easy to
   recycle because of high contamination levels (up to 40- 50% by weight
   contamination by pesticides, fertilizers, soil and debris, moist
   vegetation, silage juice water, and UV stabilizers) and collection
   difficulties . Therefore, they are often buried or abandoned in fields
   and watercourses or burned. These disposal practices lead to soil
   degradation and can result in contamination of soils and leakage of
   microplastics into the marine environment as a result of precipitation
   run-off and tidal washing. In addition, additives in residual plastic
   film (such as UV and thermal stabilizers) may have deleterious effects
   on crop growth, soil structure, nutrient transport and salt levels.
   There is a risk that plastic mulch will deteriorate soil quality,
   deplete soil organic matter stocks, increase soil water repellence and
   emit greenhouse gases. Microplastics released through fragmentation of
   agricultural plastics can absorb and concentrate contaminants capable
   of being passed up the trophic chain.^[208]


  Agricultural economics

   Main article: Agricultural economics

   In 19th century Britain, the protectionist Corn Laws led to high prices
   and widespread protest, such as this 1846 meeting of the Anti-Corn Law

   Agricultural economics is economics as it relates to the "production,
   distribution and consumption of [agricultural] goods and
   services".^[210] Combining agricultural production with general
   theories of marketing and business as a discipline of study began in
   the late 1800s, and grew significantly through the 20th century.^[211]
   Although the study of agricultural economics is relatively recent,
   major trends in agriculture have significantly affected national and
   international economies throughout history, ranging from tenant farmers
   and sharecropping in the post-American Civil War Southern United
   States^[212] to the European feudal system of manorialism.^[213] In the
   United States, and elsewhere, food costs attributed to food processing,
   distribution, and agricultural marketing, sometimes referred to as the
   value chain, have risen while the costs attributed to farming have
   declined. This is related to the greater efficiency of farming,
   combined with the increased level of value addition (e.g. more highly
   processed products) provided by the supply chain. Market concentration
   has increased in the sector as well, and although the total effect of
   the increased market concentration is likely increased efficiency, the
   changes redistribute economic surplus from producers (farmers) and
   consumers, and may have negative implications for rural

   National government policies can significantly change the economic
   marketplace for agricultural products, in the form of taxation,
   subsidies, tariffs and other measures.^[215] Since at least the 1960s,
   a combination of trade restrictions, exchange rate policies and
   subsidies have affected farmers in both the developing and the
   developed world. In the 1980s, non-subsidized farmers in developing
   countries experienced adverse effects from national policies that
   created artificially low global prices for farm products. Between the
   mid-1980s and the early 2000s, several international agreements limited
   agricultural tariffs, subsidies and other trade restrictions.^[216]

   However, as of 2009^[update], there was still a significant amount of
   policy-driven distortion in global agricultural product prices. The
   three agricultural products with the most trade distortion were sugar,
   milk and rice, mainly due to taxation. Among the oilseeds, sesame had
   the most taxation, but overall, feed grains and oilseeds had much lower
   levels of taxation than livestock products. Since the 1980s,
   policy-driven distortions have seen a greater decrease among livestock
   products than crops during the worldwide reforms in agricultural
   policy.^[215] Despite this progress, certain crops, such as cotton,
   still see subsidies in developed countries artificially deflating
   global prices, causing hardship in developing countries with
   non-subsidized farmers.^[217] Unprocessed commodities such as corn,
   soybeans, and cattle are generally graded to indicate quality,
   affecting the price the producer receives. Commodities are generally
   reported by production quantities, such as volume, number or

  Agricultural science

   Main article: Agricultural science

   Further information: Agronomy

   An agronomist mapping a plant genome

   Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that
   encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences
   used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. It covers topics
   such as agronomy, plant breeding and genetics, plant pathology, crop
   modelling, soil science, entomology, production techniques and
   improvement, study of pests and their management, and study of adverse
   environmental effects such as soil degradation, waste management, and

   The scientific study of agriculture began in the 18th century, when
   Johann Friedrich Mayer conducted experiments on the use of gypsum
   (hydrated calcium sulphate) as a fertilizer.^[221] Research became more
   systematic when in 1843, John Lawes and Henry Gilbert began a set of
   long-term agronomy field experiments at Rothamsted Research Station in
   England; some of them, such as the Park Grass Experiment, are still
   running.^[222]^[223] In America, the Hatch Act of 1887 provided funding
   for what it was the first to call "agricultural science", driven by
   farmers' interest in fertilizers.^[224] In agricultural entomology, the
   USDA began to research biological control in 1881; it instituted its
   first large program in 1905, searching Europe and Japan for natural
   enemies of the gypsy moth and brown-tail moth, establishing parasitoids
   (such as solitary wasps) and predators of both pests in the


   Main article: Agricultural policy

   CAPTION: Direct subsidies for animal products and feed by OECD
   countries in 2012, in billions of US dollars^[228]

      Product    Subsidy
   Beef and veal 18.0
   Milk          15.3
   Pigs          7.3
   Poultry       6.5
   Soybeans      2.3
   Eggs          1.5
   Sheep         1.1

   Agricultural policy is the set of government decisions and actions
   relating to domestic agriculture and imports of foreign agricultural
   products. Governments usually implement agricultural policies with the
   goal of achieving a specific outcome in the domestic agricultural
   product markets. Some overarching themes include risk management and
   adjustment (including policies related to climate change, food safety
   and natural disasters), economic stability (including policies related
   to taxes), natural resources and environmental sustainability
   (especially water policy), research and development, and market access
   for domestic commodities (including relations with global organizations
   and agreements with other countries).^[229] Agricultural policy can
   also touch on food quality, ensuring that the food supply is of a
   consistent and known quality, food security, ensuring that the food
   supply meets the population's needs, and conservation. Policy programs
   can range from financial programs, such as subsidies, to encouraging
   producers to enroll in voluntary quality assurance programs.^[230]

   There are many influences on the creation of agricultural policy,
   including consumers, agribusiness, trade lobbies and other groups.
   Agribusiness interests hold a large amount of influence over policy
   making, in the form of lobbying and campaign contributions. Political
   action groups, including those interested in environmental issues and
   labor unions, also provide influence, as do lobbying organizations
   representing individual agricultural commodities.^[231] The Food and
   Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leads
   international efforts to defeat hunger and provides a forum for the
   negotiation of global agricultural regulations and agreements. Samuel
   Jutzi, director of FAO's animal production and health division, states
   that lobbying by large corporations has stopped reforms that would
   improve human health and the environment. For example, proposals in
   2010 for a voluntary code of conduct for the livestock industry that
   would have provided incentives for improving standards for health, and
   environmental regulations, such as the number of animals an area of
   land can support without long-term damage, were successfully defeated
   due to large food company pressure.^[232]

See also

   Main article: Outline of agriculture

     * Aeroponics
     * Agricultural aircraft
     * Agricultural engineering
     * Agricultural machinery
     * Agricultural robot
     * Agroecology
     * Agribusiness
     * Agrominerals
     * Building-integrated agriculture
     * Contract farming
     * Corporate farming
     * Crofting
     * Ecoagriculture
     * Hill farming
     * List of documentary films about agriculture
     * Pharming (genetics)
     * Remote sensing
     * Subsistence economy
     * Sustainable agriculture
     * Vertical farming
     * Vegetable farming


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    2. ^ Chantrell, Glynnis, ed. (2002). The Oxford Dictionary of Word
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