Agriculture is the process of growing plants and animals for consumption. Agriculture was probably the first major development in the development of sedentary, self-sufficient human society, through which agriculture produced large surpluses, which allowed humans to survive in large cities. The history of agriculture begins thousands of years ago in what is now called the Fertile Crescent. In ancient Mesopotamia, agriculture developed along with other industries such as pottery and metal work, all of which became crucial for the development of a complex culture.
The development of agriculture meant that the ability to grow cereals for food was no longer necessary as animal husbandry had already been done to a large extent. With the use of tillage, grasslands were cleared and the resultant slopes made into cultivated areas, while the root crops were either plowing or sown to produce food, fuel, and other grains. Tiller and cultivator were the two key tools used in agriculture. In early days, metal tools were used, but later on, tractors and plows were used to cultivate the soil.
One of the disadvantages of agriculture is that it is dependent on natural disturbances. This includes natural calamities, heat, and rains, among others. Wheat and other grain fields are often damaged by such events as heavy storms, drought, snow fall, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Other types of crops may be harmed by such events as blight, leaf blight, vine blight, and potato blight. Livestock are also often killed due to diseases and pests.
The process of agriculture has been built around the concept of yield cultivation or farming within the confines of the land. This contrasts with industrial farming, which is an intensive process of farming using synthetic materials such as chemicals and pesticides, which are known as ‘crop poisons’. Agriculture relies heavily on the use of land for production of food, fuels, and other resources. Because of this, the overuse of land can be a harmful endeavor. This has led to the conservation of natural habitats and wildlife.
Another key problem with agriculture is that the technology used in modern-day agriculture is very different from what went before. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) was established in 1948 to promote the development of agriculture. The USDA has been implementing policies that focus on the protection of the environment, promoting biodiversity, food security, and maintaining the sustainability of agriculture. The primary objective of agriculture is the production of food, fuel, fiber, and feed.
Biosphere-based agriculture aims to enhance the productivity of natural systems through the use of agroecology, soil, and crop management practices, and fertilizers/pesticides. These concepts are based on a principle of interdependence of ecosystems, increasing self-sufficiency, and ecological quality of life. The key features of this farming method include: biological diversity of the soils and crop structure, direct and indirect human intervention, and participation of affected individuals and communities. These principles were incorporated into the International Agriculture Agreements of 2021.