The Agriculture Portal

Ploughing rice paddies with water buffalo, in Indonesia.
Harvesting wheat with a combine harvester accompanied by a tractor and trailer

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. 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 into the twenty-first. [citation needed]

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological developments have sharply increased yields, while causing widespread 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 growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are widely used, although some are banned in certain countries.

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, fungi and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the centuries.

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Ducks and poultry.jpg
Pictured left: Domestic ducks and chickens, types of poultry

Poultry is a category of domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of collecting their eggs, or raising for their meat and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the order Galliformes (which includes chickens, quails and turkeys) and the family Anatidae (in order Anseriformes), commonly known as "waterfowl" (e.g. domestic ducks and domestic geese). Poultry also includes other birds which are killed for their meat, such as pigeons or doves or birds considered to be game, like pheasants. Poultry comes from the French/Norman word, poule, itself derived from the Latin word Pullus, which means small animal.

Poultry is the second most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 30% of meat production worldwide, after pork at 38%.

Chicken meat contains about two to three times as much polyunsaturated fat than most types of red meat when measured as weight percentage.

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Sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:

Sustainable agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill.[2] More recently, as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen, organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop.[3]

  1. ^ Gold, M. (July 2009). What is Sustainable Agriculture?. United States Department of Agriculture, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
  2. ^ Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603
  3. ^ Organic and non-GMO Report. New certification programs aim to encourage sustainable farming.

Categories: Sustainable agriculture, Sustainability

Did you know...

...the theoretical maximum cereal yield per year in the tropics amounts to 66,138 pounds (30,000 kg) per hectare?
Other "Did you know" facts... Read more...

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