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Transcript of Agriculture
In 1980, the sales of organic food was under $200 million.
By 2013, it was $31.5 billion.
Where Did Agriculture Begin?
When we think about agriculture, we tend to think about the production of food for humans.
But, grain is also used for feed - grains fed directly to livestock.
Agriculture and Industrialization
The Second Agricultural Revolution
preceded the Industrial Revolution.
Geographic Organization of Agriculture
Major changes in transportation and food storage (especially refrigeration) has helped to intertwine agricultural production and food processing regions around the world.
The Imprint of Agriculture on the Landscape
The pattern of land ownership seen in the landscape reflects the cadastral system.
Cadastral systems define land
ownership and property lines.
What do we notice
here about organic
production in the US?
Why do you think the
map looks like this?
Organic crops are grown everywhere, but most organic foods are sold in _______ countries.
has helped some farmers in the core extract themselves from the control of large, corporate interests.
In the periphery and semiperiphery, organic farming is like other cash crops...production is for export to the global economic core.
Grain is also used to produce fuel for cars - about 40% of all grain produced.
Economic activities can be classified based on what is being produced.
Primary economic activities
involve the extraction of products from the earth, including:
-hunting and gathering
Secondary economic activities
take a primary product and change it into something else
-toys, ships, processed foods, chemicals and buildings
-manufacturing is the principal secondary economic activity
Tertiary economic activities
are those service industries that connect producers to consumers and facilitate trade and commerce or help people meet their needs
-bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, salespeople, secretaries
Some analysts put specialized services into
-Quaternary: services concerned with information or the exchange of money or goods
-Quinary: research or higher education
In Guatemala, the agriculture sector accounts for 26% of GDP. Over 50% of the labor force is employed in agriculture.
The tertiary sector accounts for 35% of the labor force and 65% of GDP.
In Canada, the agriculture sector accounts for 2.3% of GDP and only 2% of the labor force is employed in ag.
The tertiary sector in Canada accounts for 75% of the labor force and over 71% of GDP.
From these figures, we know that agriculture in Guatemala is still labor dependent.
In the US, ag is mechanized.
-in 1950, one farmer in the US produced enough to feed 27 people.
-today, one farmer produces enough to feed 144 people.
Mechanization of agriculture is more than combines and harvesters.
It also has to do with hybrid seeds, GMOs, pesticides, and herbicides
The drive for economic efficiency means that farms are growing larger.
The largest 4% of farms produce 66% of the country's agricultural sales.
occurred roughly 14,000 years ago.
Different areas of the world domesticated different crops. Why?
- crops that are reproduced by cultivating either the roots or cuttings from the plants
-e.g. tubers, including manioc or cassava, yams, and sweet potatoes
are reproduced by cultivating seeds
-This involves seed selection, sowing, watering, and well-timed harvesting
The cultivation of seed crops marked the beginning of the
First Agricultural Revolution
-occurred in the Fertile Crescent and Nile River Valley
With plant domestication:
-The plants themselves changed. People chose the largest, hardiest plants to save for planting, yielding domesticated plants that grew larger over time.
Use along with Table on 317
In Southeast Asia, taro, yams, and bananas were the leading food plants.
Southwest Asia: wheat, barley and other grains
Mesoamerica: maize (corn), squashes, and beans
What we now think of as centers of production of particular crops are not the places where those crops were originally domesticated.
We associate corn with the American Corn Belt, but it diffused from Mesoamerica into North America.
Later, the Portuguese brought it across the Atlantic and into Africa, where it become a staple in some regions.
We associate the white potato with Ireland and Idaho, but it originally came from the Andean highlands in Peru.
It was brought to Europe in the 1600s.
We associate the banana with Mesoamerica, but it came from Southeast Asia, as did a variety of yams.
Mercantilism and European colonialism accelerated the diffusion of seeds and crops around the world.
was also an important step in cultural development.
People kept animals for:
-labor (as beasts of burden)
Goats were domesticated in the Fertile Crescent about 10,000 years ago.
Sheep were domesticated in Anatolia about 9,500 years ago.
Animal domestication changed the appearance of animals.
Domestication protected animals that would have been killed in the wild.
Humans often chose the more docile and smaller animals to breed.
In Southwest Asia and parts of the Mediterranean, humans domesticated the goat, the sheep, and the camel.
Southeast Asians domesticated several kinds of pigs, the water buffalo, chickens, and some water fowl (ducks, geese).
In East India and West Burma (South Asia), people domesticated cattle
In Central Asia, people domesticated the yak, the horse, some species of goats, and sheep.
In Mesoamerica, they domesticated the llama and alpaca (http://modernfarmer.com/2015/09/difference-between-llama-and-alpaca/), a species of pig, and the turkey.
Dogs and cats attached themselves to human settlements very early and in widely separate regions (they may have been the first to be domesticated).
Domestication attempts continue today.
For instance, in East Africa, people are attempting to domesticate the eland
to serve as a source of meat.
Historically, only about 40 species of animals have been domesticated.
Why can't we domesticate all animals?
Domestication attempts fail because of the animal's:
(only growing enough food to survive) was the norm throughout most of human history.
Subsistence farmers often hold land in common.
Surpluses are shared by all, accumulation of personal wealth is restricted, and individual advancement at the cost of the group is limited.
Subsistence agriculture declined during the 1900s with:
-the diffusion of industrialized agriculture
-the goal of constantly increasing production both to feed growing populations and to sell more agricultural goods
A return to subsistence agriculture has taken hold in parts of the world where farmers feel production for the global market has not benefited them either financially or culturally.
Indigenous people in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero have returned to subsistence agriculture.
A market in Oaxaca
Some subsistence farmers move from place to place in search of better land.
is found mainly in tropical and subtropical zones where traditional farmers have to abandon plots of land after the soil becomes infertile.
-The tropics are known for having low soil fertility. Why?
Once stripped of their natural vegetative cover, soils in the tropics and subtropics can quickly lose their nutrients as rainwater leaches out organic matter.
One specific kind of shifting cultivation is
Trees are cut down and all existing vegetation is burned off.
-Farmers use tools (machetes and knives) to slash down trees and tall vegetation, and then burn the vegetation on the ground.
-The layer of ash created by the burn helps with the soil's fertility.
Problems with slash-and-burn agriculture include:
-species and habitat loss
-contribution to climate change
-greater soil erosion
Some NGOs and groups are promoting
, where crops are grown near and around trees to create more sustainable and productive land-use.
New technologies improved production:
-the seed drill enabled farmers to avoid wasting seeds and to plant in rows.
-the invention of the mechanical reaper by Cyrus McCormick increased yields of individual farmers by at least 10x.
-The mechanical reaper both cut and bundled grain.
-advances in breeding livestock enabled farmers to develop new breeds that were either strong milk producers or good for beef.
The railroad moved agriculture into new regions:
-Railroad companies advertised in Europe to attract immigrants to the Great Plains region
-Railroads took the new migrants to their new towns, where they transformed the prairie into agricultural fields.
Later, the invention of internal combustible engine made the invention of tractors, combines, etc. possible.
When commercial agriculture is geared to producing food for people who live in a nearby city, a pattern of land use on the "perishability" of products and costs of transportation often emerges.
In the 1800s, von Thunen noticed that as one moved away from town, one commodity or crop gave way to another.
-He also noticed that this process occurred without any visible change in soil, climate or terrain
-When he mapped it out, he found that each town was surrounded by more-or-less concentric rings within which particular commodities or crops dominated.
Nearest the town, farmers generally produced commodities that were perishable and commanded high prices (like dairy products and strawberries).
The next ring crops were less perishable and bulkier, including wheat and other grains.
Still farther out, livestock raising began to replace field crops.
Von Thunen reasoned that transport costs would govern the use of land.
-As distance to market increased, the higher transport costs had to be added to the cost of producing a crop or commodity.
Thunian patterns are not solely the result of the forces modeled by von Thunen.
Differences in climate type and soil quality can affect the goods produced.
But, driving east out of Denver, heading for Nebraska, there is a certain zonation:
-dairying and market gardening nearest the city
-cash grains like corn and soybeans in the next zone
-more extensive grain farming and livestock raising beyond
-cattle ranching in the outermost zone
Even when agricultural production does not conform to the concentric rings of the model, von Thunen's ideas about land use and transportation costs still helps explain many agricultural patterns.
The fresh flowers grown in the Caribbean for sale in New York City is a reflection of Von Thunen's model.
-It is less expensive to grow flowers in the Caribbean and ship them to New York City than it is to grow them in other places.
Third Agricultural Revolution
is associated with the use of
to expand agricultural production.
-the third agricultural revolution enables farmers to produce crops more intensively on the land and to bring more, marginal land into production.
-relies on hybridization of seeds to produce a more stable crop in a variety of circumstances (wind resistant, drought resistant)
-intensifies use of technology and irrigation
-expands use of land either by not leaving it fallow or by farming on marginal land
The Green Revolution is part of the third agricultural revolution.
The Green Revolution refers to the use of biotechnology to create disease-resistant, fast-growing hybrid seeds
-It focused on staple crops, like rice and wheat
One example is the production of a rice plant called IR36
-It was bred from 13 parents to achieve genetic resistance against 15 pests.
-It had a growing cycle of 110 days under warm conditions, thus making possible three crops per year in some places.
The increased yields of the Green Revolution came at a time of increased concern about global hunger.
Since the Green Revolution, most famines have resulted from political instability rather than failures in production.
Let's return to the ideas of Malthus. What did Malthus state about food and population?
According to Malthus, food production increases linearly while population increases exponentially.
But, Malthus could never
have foreseen the 2nd and
3rd agricultural revolutions.
Food production has grown
exponentially to meet
increases in population.
The Green Revolution has not been all positive, though.
The main crops it focused on were rice, wheat, and corn, which means the Green Revolution has had minimal impact throughout much of Africa.
-In Africa, agriculture is based on different crops and lower soil fertility makes agriculture less attractive to foreign investment.
-But, research has led to methods for producing high-yield cassava and sorghum (both of which are African crops).
Other problems with the Green Revolution depend on the
that you focus on. What are the five scales again?
Problems with the Green Revolution include:
-social changes, health risks, and environmental hazards
-large scale monocropping can make farms vulnerable to changes in climate or the infestation of particular pests
-higher inputs of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides can lead to reduced organic matter in the soil and to groundwater pollution
-small-scale farmers may lack the resources to acquire genetically enhanced seeds and the necessary chemicals.
See pg. 322
So, at the global and national scales, the Green Revolution has seen a lot of positives as global and national hunger has been addressed.
India became self-sufficient in grain production by the 1980s.
But, the effects of the Green Revolution on the regional and local scales have made some argue that the Green Revolution has had its negatives.
Smaller farmers have been placed in a poor competitive position.
A few large corporations control the seed patents for GMOs and hold a virtual monopoly of the needed chemical inputs.
-These companies have tremendous power over the agricultural production process.
Also, the need for capital from the West to implement the Green Revolution has led to a shift away from production for local consumers toward export agriculture.
Local places becomes subject to changes in the global economy.
-A downward fluctuation in the price of a given crop can create enormous problems for places dependent on the sale of that crop.
Globalization has led to major changes in agriculture.
In Latin America, there have been dramatic increases in the production of export crops (or cash crops such as fruits and coffee).
-These have occurred at the expense of crop production for local consumption.
-Subsistence farming has been pushed to more marginal lands.
In Asia, the production of cereal crops (grains such as rice and wheat) has increased for both foreign and domestic markets.
In Africa, total commercialized agriculture has increased, but African farms have remained relatively small and dependent on manual labor.
In Gambia, Africa, changing agricultural practices have altered the rural environment and economy, but also relations between men and women.
Over the last 30 years, Gambia has seen wetlands converted to irrigated agricultural fields, making rice production possible year-round.
This conversion created tension as lands that women traditionally used for family subsistence have been changed to commercialized farming plots.
As rice production became a year-round task, women found themselves with less time for other activities necessary to maintain the household.
Like much of the less industrialized world, agricultural work is largely performed by women.
In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, 60% of all employed females work in the agricultural sector.
Women are often left to work the land but earn little financial reward for their labor (which often ends up in men's hands).
Globalization has also had an effect on subsistence agriculture.
During the colonial period, European powers sought to modernize the economies of their colonies by ending subsistence agriculture and integrating farmers into colonial systems of production and exchange.
Many compelled subsistence farmers to devote some land to a crop to be sold on the world market (like cotton), thus bringing them into the commercial economy.
In some areas, the farmers were forced to give up food crops for cash crops, resulting in severe famines.
Today, subsistence land use continues to give way to more intensive farming and cash cropping.
In South America and Southeast Asia, land that had once been held communally is being parceled out to individuals for cash cropping.
-Small landowners are often squeezed out, leaving the land in the hands of wealthier farmers and the owners of commercialized farming operations.
The prevailing survey system throughout much of the US (the one that appears as checkerboards across agricultural fields) is the
rectangular survey system
This system was adopted after the American Revolution as part of the
-This system was designed by Thomas Jefferson to disperse settlers evenly across farmlands of the US interior.
The basic unit of this system was the 1 square mile section.
-Land was bought in whole, half, or quarter sections.
-Sections' lines were drawn without reference to the terrain, and imposed a uniformity across the land.
Societies with property ownership have parcels of land divided into neat, clearly demarcated segments.
The size and order of those parcels are heavily influenced by land partition schemes and property inheritance.
There is the traditional Germanic practice of
, where all the land passes to the eldest son.
In these systems, land parcels tend to be larger and farmers work a single plot of land.
This is historically been the case in the Americas, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
In other systems, land is divided among heirs.
This occurs in much of Asia, Africa, and Southern Europe, as well as Indian reservations in the US.
Land parcels can experience fragmentation. Farmers have a variety of scattered small plots of land.
All heirs have access to land, but it might be difficult to sustain a family off of a smaller parcel.
The shapes of villages can also be a reflection of agriculture.
Traditionally, the people who lived in villages either farmed the surrounding land or provided services to those who did the farming.
For example, houses in Japanese farming villages are packed close together.
This village form reflects the pressure to allocate every possible square foot of land to farming
-Farming villages must not use land where crops could grow.
In the Midwest of the US, individual farm houses like far apart - this is a dispersed settlement pattern.
In these areas, the land is intensively cultivated, but mainly by machine - not hand.
In Java (an island of Indosesia), villages are located along every half mile or so along a rural road.
Settlement there is nucleated.
Nucleated settlement is by far the most prevalent rural residential pattern in agricultural areas around the world.
Villages can also take distinct shapes.
In the hilly regions of Europe, villages frequently are clustered on hills, leaving the level land for farming.
The hill site would also offer protection
In many low-lying areas of western Europe, villages are located on dikes and levees, so villages take on a linear form.
Villages oriented along roads also have a linear shape.
You have the house, outbuildings
with a small garden, and then farms
and pasturelands beyond.
Linear village in Romania
East Africa has circular villages.
This is a Masai
Why would they
choose a circular
Cultures with circular villages usually practiced herding.
The circular village allowed a central area to keep the herd at night.
The village (along with the herd) is also protected from predators.
The beef industry of Argentina secured a world market when the invention of refrigerated ships made it possible to transport a perishable commodity over long distances.
Colonial agriculture helped spatially expand
Colonial powers established
(dependence on a single agricultural commodity) throughout much of the colonial world.
Colonies became known for certain crops
-Ghana still farms cacao
-Mozambique grows cotton
-Sri Lanka produces tea
The production of cash crops in poorer countries is perpetuated by loan and aid requirements from lending countries.
The world, obviously, has different climate zones.
Wladimir Koppen devised a scheme called the
Koppen climate classification
system for classifying the world's climates on the basis of temperature and precipitation.
see pgs. 332-333
The B zones are dry climates where water accessibility is problematic. Yet large population centers are focused here.
The C zones are Mediterranean climates (well known wine growing areas)
Colonial powers implemented agriculture systems to benefit their needs.
This has locked poorer countries into production of one or two cash crops
Cash farming provides needed money to poorer countries, even if the conditions of sale of the crops are unfavorable.
In the Caribbean, many national economies rely on sugar exports.
They would like the highest price they can get, but they can't dictate prices.
Occasionally, producing countries may form a cartel to present a united front and gain a better price.
-This is what OPEC does (the oil producing countries of the world)
-But, since the US and other countries have increased their oil production in recent years, OPEC's control is not what it once was.
When cash crops are grown on large estates, that is
Plantations are colonial legacies that persist in poorer, primarily tropical, countries along with subsistence farming.
-In Middle and South America: bananas, sugar, coffee, and cocoa.
-In West and East Africa: rubber, cocoa and tea
-South Asia: tea
-Southeast Asia: rubber
Many of the most productive plantations are owned by European or American individuals or corporations.
See area #7 on pgs. 334-335