Intensive Farming Essays

Intensive farming involves various types of agriculture with higher levels of input and output per cubic unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, and higher crop yields per cubic unit land area.[1][2] This contrasts with traditional agriculture, in which the inputs per unit land are lower. The term "intensive" involves various meanings, some of which refer to organic farming methods (such as biointensive agriculture and French intensive gardening), and others that refer to nonorganic and industrial methods. Intensive animal farming involves either large numbers of animals raised on limited land, usually confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), often referred to as factory farms,[1][3][4] or managed intensive rotational grazing (MIRG), which has both organic and non-organic types. Both increase the yields of food and fiber per acre as compared to traditional animal husbandry. In CAFO, feed is brought to the seldom-moved animals, while in MIRG the animals are repeatedly moved to fresh forage.

Most commercial agriculture is intensive in one or more ways. Forms that rely heavily on industrial methods are often called industrial agriculture, which is characterised by innovations designed to increase yield. Techniques include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years, and improving cultivars. It also involves increased use of fertilizers, plant growth regulators, and pesticides and mechanised agriculture, controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions, including weather, soil, water, weeds, and pests. This system is supported by ongoing innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale, logistics, and data collection and analysis technology. Intensive farms are widespread in developed nations and increasingly prevalent worldwide. Most of the meat, dairy, eggs, fruits, and vegetables available in supermarkets are produced by such farms.

Smaller intensive farms usually include higher inputs of labor and more often use sustainable intensive methods. The farming practices commonly found on such farms are referred to as appropriate technology. These farms are less widespread in both developed countries and worldwide, but are growing more rapidly. Most of the food available in specialty markets such as farmers markets is produced by these small holder farms.


Main articles: Agriculture § Modern developments, and British Agricultural Revolution

Agricultural development in Britain between the 16th century and the mid-19th century saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn supported unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, and thereby helped enable the Industrial Revolution. Historians cited enclosure, mechanization, four-field crop rotation, and selective breeding as the most important innovations.[5]

Industrial agriculture arose along with the Industrial Revolution. By the early 19th century, agricultural techniques, implements, seed stocks, and cultivars had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the Middle Ages.[6]

The industrialization phase involved a continuing process of mechanization. Horse-drawn machinery such as the McCormick reaper revolutionized harvesting, while inventions such as the cotton gin reduced the cost of processing. During this same period, farmers began to use steam-poweredthreshers and tractors, although they were expensive and dangerous.[citation needed] In 1892, the first gasoline-powered tractor was successfully developed, and in 1923, the International HarvesterFarmall tractor became the first all-purpose tractor, marking an inflection point in the replacement of draft animals with machines. Mechanical harvesters (combines), planters, transplanters, and other equipment were then developed, further revolutionizing agriculture.[7] These inventions increased yields and allowed individual farmers to manage increasingly large farms.[8]

The identification of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers, further increasing crop yields. In 1909, the Haber-Bosch method to synthesize ammonium nitrate was first demonstrated. NPK fertilizers stimulated the first concerns about industrial agriculture, due to concerns that they came with serious side effects such as soil compaction, soil erosion, and declines in overall soil fertility, along with health concerns about toxic chemicals entering the food supply.[9]

The identification of carbon as a critical factor in plant growth and soil health, particularly in the form of humus, led to so-called sustainable agriculture, as well as alternative forms of intensive agriculture that also surpassed traditional agriculture, without side effects or health issues. Farmers adopting this approach were initially referred to as humus farmers, later as organic farmers.

The discovery of vitamins and their role in nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which in the 1920s allowed some livestock to be raised indoors, reducing their exposure to adverse natural elements.[citation needed] Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides.

Following World War II, synthetic fertilizer use increased rapidly,[10] while sustainable intensive farming advanced much more slowly. Most of the resources in developed nations went to improving industrial intensive farming, and very little went to improving organic farming. Thus, particularly in the developed nations, industrial intensive farming grew to become the dominant form of agriculture.

The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in confined animal feeding operations by reducing diseases caused by crowding.[citation needed] Developments in logistics and refrigeration as well as processing technology made long-distance distribution feasible.[citation needed]

Between 1700 and 1980, "the total area of cultivated land worldwide increased 466%" and yields increased dramatically, particularly because of selectively-bred, high-yielding varieties, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and machinery.[11] Global agricultural production doubled between 1820 and 1920; between 1920 and 1950; between 1950 and 1965; and again between 1965 and 1975 to feed a global population that grew from one billion in 1800 to 6.5 billion in 2002.[12]:29 The number of people involved in farming in industrial countries dropped, from 24 percent of the American population to 1.5 percent in 2002. In 1940, each farmworker supplied 11 consumers, whereas in 2002, each worker supplied 90 consumers.[12]:29 The number of farms also decreased and their ownership became more concentrated. In the year 2000 in the U.S., four companies produced 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs, and 50 percent of chickens, which was cited as an example of "vertical integration" by the president of the U.S. National Farmers Union.[13] Between 1967 and 2002, the one million pig farms in America consolidated into 114,000[12]:29, with 80 million pigs (out of 95 million) produced each year on factory farms, according to the U.S. National Pork Producers Council.[12]:29 According to the Worldwatch Institute, 74 percent of the world's poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs are produced this way.[14]:26

Concerns over the sustainability of industrial agriculture, which has become associated with decreasedsoil quality, and over the environmental effects of fertilizers and pesticides, have not subsided. Alternatives such as integrated pest management (IPM) have had little impact because policies encourage the use of pesticides and IPM is knowledge-intensive.[11] These concerns sustained the organic movement[15] and caused a resurgence in sustainable intensive farming, as well as funding for the development of appropriate technology.

Famines continued throughout the 20th century. Through the effects of climactic events, government policy, war, and crop failure, millions of people died in each of at least ten famines between the 1920s and the 1990s.[16]

Techniques and technologies[edit]


Main article: Intensive animal farming

Confined animal feeding operations[edit]

Intensive livestock farming, also called "factory farming", is a term referring to the process of raising livestock in confinement at high stocking density.[17][18][19][20][21] "Concentrated animal feeding operations" (CAFO), or "intensive livestock operations", can hold large numbers (some up to hundreds of thousands) of cows, hogs, turkeys, or chickens, often indoors. The essence of such farms is the concentration of livestock in a given space. The aim is to provide maximum output at the lowest possible cost and with the greatest level of food safety.[22] The term is often used pejoratively.[23] However, CAFOs have dramatically increased the production of food from animal husbandry worldwide, both in terms of total food produced and efficiency.

Food and water is delivered to the animals, and therapeutic use of antimicrobial agents, vitamin supplements, and growth hormones are often employed. Growth hormones are not used on chickens nor on any animal in the European Union. Undesirable behaviors often related to the stress of confinement led to a search for docile breeds (e.g., with natural dominant behaviors bred out), physical restraints to stop interaction, such as individual cages for chickens, or physical modification such as the de-beaking of chickens to reduce the harm of fighting.

The CAFO designation resulted from the 1972 U.S. Federal Clean Water Act, which was enacted to protect and restore lakes and rivers to a "fishable, swimmable" quality. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified certain animal feeding operations, along with many other types of industry, as "point source" groundwater polluters. These operations were subjected to regulation.[24]

In 17 states in the U.S., isolated cases of groundwater contamination were linked to CAFOs.[25] For example, the ten million hogs in North Carolina generate 19 million tons of waste per year.[26] The U.S. federal government acknowledges the waste disposal issue and requires that animal waste be stored in lagoons. These lagoons can be as large as 7.5 acres (30,000 m2). Lagoons not protected with an impermeable liner can leak into groundwater under some conditions, as can runoff from manure used as fertilizer. A lagoon that burst in 1995 released 25 million gallons of nitrous sludge in North Carolina's New River. The spill allegedly killed eight to ten million fish.[27]

The large concentration of animals, animal waste, and dead animals in a small space poses ethical issues to some consumers. Animal rights and animal welfare activists have charged that intensive animal rearing is cruel to animals.

Other concerns include persistent noxious odor, the effects on human health, and the role of antibiotic use in the rise of resistant infectious bacteria.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), farms on which animals are intensively reared can cause adverse health reactions in farm workers. Workers may develop acute and/or chronic lung disease, musculoskeletal injuries, and may catch ( zoonotic) infections from the animals.

Managed intensive rotational grazing[edit]

Main article: Managed intensive rotational grazing

Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing (MIRG), also known as cell grazing, mob grazing, and holistic management planned grazing, is a variety of foraging in which herds or flocks are regularly and systematically moved to fresh, rested grazing areas to maximize the quality and quantity of forage growth. MIRG can be used with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other animals. The herds graze one portion of pasture, or a paddock, while allowing the others to recover. Resting grazed lands allows the vegetation to renew energy reserves, rebuild shoot systems, and deepen root systems, resulting in long-term maximum biomass production.[28][29] MIRG is especially effective because grazers thrive on the more tender younger plant stems. MIRG also leaves parasites behind to die off, minimizing or eliminating the need for de-wormers. Pasture systems alone can allow grazers to meet their energy requirements, and with the increased productivity of MIRG systems, the animals obtain the majority of their nutritional needs, in some cases all, without the supplemental feed sources that are required in continuous grazing systems.[30]


Main article: Intensive crop farming

The Green Revolution transformed farming in many developing countries. It spread technologies that had already existed, but had not been widely used outside of industrialized nations. These technologies included "miracle seeds", pesticides, irrigation, and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.[31]


In the 1970s, scientists created strains of maize, wheat, and rice that are generally referred to as high-yielding varieties (HYV). HYVs have an increased nitrogen-absorbing potential compared to other varieties. Since cereals that absorbed extra nitrogen would typically lodge (fall over) before harvest, semi-dwarfing genes were bred into their genomes. Norin 10 wheat, a variety developed by Orville Vogel from Japanese dwarf wheat varieties, was instrumental in developing wheat cultivars. IR8, the first widely implemented HYV rice to be developed by the International Rice Research Institute, was created through a cross between an Indonesian variety named “Peta” and a Chinese variety named “Dee Geo Woo Gen.”[32]

With the availability of molecular genetics in Arabidopsis and rice the mutant genes responsible (reduced height (rht), gibberellin insensitive (gai1) and slender rice (slr1)) have been cloned and identified as cellular signalling components of gibberellic acid, a phytohormone involved in regulating stem growth via its effect on cell division. Photosynthetic investment in the stem is reduced dramatically as the shorter plants are inherently more mechanically stable. Nutrients become redirected to grain production, amplifying in particular the yield effect of chemical fertilizers.

HYVs significantly outperform traditional varieties in the presence of adequate irrigation, pesticides, and fertilizers. In the absence of these inputs, traditional varieties may outperform HYVs. They were developed as F1 hybrids, meaning seeds need to be purchased every season to obtain maximum benefit, thus increasing costs.

Crop rotation[edit]

Main article: Crop rotation

Crop rotation or crop sequencing is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space in sequential seasons for benefits such as avoiding pathogen and pest buildup that occurs when one species is continuously cropped. Crop rotation also seeks to balance the nutrient demands of various crops to avoid soil nutrient depletion. A traditional component of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of legumes and green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. A related technique is to plant multi-species cover crops between commercial crops. This combines the advantages of intensive farming with continuous cover and polyculture.


Main article: Irrigation

Crop irrigation accounts for 70% of the world's fresh water use.[33]

Flood irrigation, the oldest and most common type, is typically unevenly distributed, as parts of a field may receive excess water in order to deliver sufficient quantities to other parts. Overhead irrigation, using center-pivot or lateral-moving sprinklers, gives a much more equal and controlled distribution pattern. Drip irrigation is the most expensive and least-used type, but delivers water to plant roots with minimal losses.

Water catchment management measures include recharge pits, which capture rainwater and runoff and use it to recharge groundwater supplies. This helps in the replenishment of groundwater wells and eventually reduces soil erosion. Dammed rivers creating reservoirs store water for irrigation and other uses over large areas. Smaller areas sometimes use irrigation ponds or groundwater.

Weed control[edit]

Main article: Weed control

In agriculture, systematic weed management is usually required, often performed by machines such as cultivators or liquid herbicide sprayers. Herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often based on plant hormones. Weed control through herbicide is made more difficult when the weeds become resistant to the herbicide. Solutions include:

  • Cover crops (especially those with allelopathic properties) that out-compete weeds or inhibit their regeneration
  • Multiple herbicides, in combination or in rotation
  • Strains genetically engineered for herbicide tolerance
  • Locally adapted strains that tolerate or out-compete weeds
  • Tilling
  • Ground cover such as mulch or plastic
  • Manual removal
  • Mowing
  • Grazing
  • Burning


Main article: Terrace (agriculture)

In agriculture, a terrace is a leveled section of a hilly cultivated area, designed as a method of soil conservation to slow or prevent the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. Often such land is formed into multiple terraces, giving a stepped appearance. The human landscapes of rice cultivation in terraces that follow the natural contours of the escarpments, like contour ploughing, are a classic feature of the island of Bali and the Banaue Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines. In Peru, the Inca made use of otherwise unusable slopes by building drystone walls to create terraces.

Rice paddies[edit]

Main article: Paddy field

A paddy field is a flooded parcel of arable land used for growing rice and other semiaquatic crops. Paddy fields are a typical feature of rice-growing countries of east and southeast Asia, including Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. They are also found in other rice-growing regions such as Piedmont (Italy), the Camargue (France), and the Artibonite Valley (Haiti). They can occur naturally along rivers or marshes, or can be constructed, even on hillsides. They require large water quantities for irrigation, much of it from flooding. It gives an environment favourable to the strain of rice being grown, and is hostile to many species of weeds. As the only draft animal species which is comfortable in wetlands, the water buffalo is in widespread use in Asian rice paddies.[34]

Paddy-based rice-farming has been practiced in Korea since ancient times. A pit-house at the Daecheon-ni archaeological site yielded carbonized rice grains and radiocarbon dates indicating that rice cultivation may have begun as early as the Middle Jeulmun Pottery Period (c. 3500–2000 BC) in the Korean Peninsula.[35] The earliest rice cultivation there may have used dry-fields instead of paddies.

The earliest Mumun features were usually located in naturally swampy, low-lying narrow gulleys and fed by local streams. Some Mumun paddies in flat areas were made of a series of squares and rectangles separated by bunds approximately 10 cm in height, while terraced paddies were long and irregular in shape, following the natural contours of the land at various levels.[36]

Like today, Mumun period rice farmers used terracing, bunds, canals, and small reservoirs. Some paddy-farming techniques of the Middle Mumun period (c. 850–550 BC) can be interpreted from the well-preserved wooden tools excavated from archaeological rice paddies at the Majeon-ni site. Iron tools for paddy-farming were not introduced until sometime after 200 BC. The spatial scale of individual paddies, and thus entire paddy-fields, increased with the regular use of iron tools in the Three Kingdoms of Korea Period (c. AD 300/400–668).

A recent development in the intensive production of rice is System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Developed in 1983 by the FrenchJesuitFatherHenri de Laulanié in Madagascar,[37] by 2013 the number of smallholder farmers using SRI had grown to between 4 and 5 million.[38]


Main article: Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the cultivation of the natural products of water (fish, shellfish, algae, seaweed, and other aquatic organisms). Intensive aquaculture takes place on land using tanks, ponds, or other controlled systems, or in the ocean, using cages.[39][40]

Sustainable intensive farming[edit]

Further information: Sustainable farming, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture, Zero waste agriculture, and Organic farming

Sustainable intensive farming practices have been developed to slow the deterioration of agricultural land and even regenerate soil health and ecosystem services, while still offering high yields. Most of these developments fall in the category of organic farming, or the integration of organic and conventional agriculture.

"Organic systems and the practices that make them effective are being picked up more and more by conventional agriculture and will become the foundation for future farming systems. They won't be called organic, because they'll still use some chemicals and still use some fertilizers, but they'll function much more like today's organic systems than today's conventional systems."

Dr. Charles Benbrook Executive director US House Agriculture Subcommittee Director Agricultural Board - National Academy Sciences (FMR)

The System of Crop Intensification (SCI) was born out of research primarily at Cornell University and smallholder farms in India on SRI. It uses the SRI concepts and methods for rice and applies them to crops like wheat, sugarcane, finger millet, and others. It can be 100% organic, or integrated with reduced conventional inputs.[41][42]

Holistic management is a systems thinking approach that was originally developed for reversing desertification.[43] Holistic planned grazing is similar to rotational grazing but differs in that it more explicitly provides a framework for adapting to four basic ecosystem processes: the water cycle,[44] the mineral cycle (including the carbon cycle),[45][46][47][48][49]energy flow, and community dynamics (the relationship between organisms in an ecosystem)[50] as equal in importance to livestock production and social welfare. By intensively managing the behavior and movement of livestock, holistic planned grazing simultaneously increases stocking rates and restores grazing land.[44]

Pasture cropping involves planting grain crops directly into grassland without first applying herbicides. The perennial grasses form a living mulch understory to the grain crop, eliminating the need to plant cover crops after harvest. The pasture is intensively grazed both before and after grain production using holistic planned grazing. This intensive system yields equivalent farmer profits (partly from increased livestock forage) while building new topsoil and sequestering up to 33 tons of CO2/ha/year.[51][52]

The Twelve Aprils grazing program for dairy production, developed in partnership with the USDA-SARE, is similar to pasture cropping, but the crops planted into the perennial pasture are forage crops for dairy herds. This system improves milk production and is more sustainable than confinement dairy production.[53]

Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) is an example of a holistic approach. IMTA is a practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (fertilizers, food) for another. Fed aquaculture (e.g. fish, shrimp) is combined with inorganic extractive (e.g. seaweed) and organic extractive aquaculture (e.g. shellfish) to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction), and social acceptability (better management practices).[54]

Biointensive agriculture focuses on maximizing efficiency[55] such as per unit area, energy input, and water input. Agroforestry combines agriculture and orchard/forestry technologies to create more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems.

Intercropping can increase yields or reduce inputs and thus represents (potentially sustainable) agricultural intensification. However, while total yield per acre is often increased dramatically, yields of any single crop often diminish. There are also challenges to farmers relying on farming equipment optimized for monoculture, often resulting in increased labor inputs.

Vertical farming is intensive crop production on a large scale in urban centers, in multi-story, artificially-lit structures, using far less inputs and producing fewer environmental impacts.

An integrated farming system is a progressive, biologically-integrated sustainable agriculture system such as IMTA or Zero waste agriculture, whose implementation requires exacting knowledge of the interactions of multiple species and whose benefits include sustainability and increased profitability. Elements of this integration can include:

  • Intentionally introducing flowering plants into agricultural ecosystems to increase pollen-and nectar-resources required by natural enemies of insect pests[56]
  • Using crop rotation and cover crops to suppress nematodes in potatoes[57]


See also: Agricultural policy and Agribusiness

The challenges and issues of industrial agriculture for society, for the industrial agriculture sector, for the individual farm, and for animal rights include the costs and benefits of both current practices and proposed changes to those practices.[58][59] This is a continuation of thousands of years of invention in feeding ever-growing populations.

[W]hen hunter-gatherers with growing populations depleted the stocks of game and wild foods across the Near East, they were forced to introduce agriculture. But agriculture brought much longer hours of work and a less rich diet than hunter-gatherers enjoyed. Further population growth among shifting slash-and-burn farmers led to shorter fallow periods, falling yields and soil erosion. Plowing and fertilizers were introduced to deal with these problems - but once again involved longer hours of work and degradation of soil resources (Boserup, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth, Allen and Unwin, 1965, expanded and updated in Population and Technology, Blackwell, 1980.).

While the point of industrial agriculture is to profitably supply the world at the lowest cost, industrial methods have significant side effects. Further, industrial agriculture is not an indivisible whole, but instead is composed of multiple elements, each of which can be modified in response to market conditions, government regulation, and further innovation, and has its own side-effects. Various interest groups reach different conclusions on the subject.[58][59]

Population growth[edit]

See also: World population and History of agriculture

Very roughly:

YearWorldAfricaAsiaEuropeCentral & South AmericaNorth America*OceaniaNotes
8000 BCE8 000[60]
1000 BCE50 000[60]
500 BCE100 000[60]
1 CE200,000 plus[61]
1000310 000
1750791 000106 000502 000163 00016 0002 0002 000
1800978 000107 000635 000203 00024 0007 0002 000
18501 262 000111 000809 000276 00038 00026 0002 000
19001 650 000133 000947 000408 00074 00082 0006 000
19502 518 629221 2141 398 488547 403167 097171 61612 812
19552 755 823246 7461 541 947575 184190 797186 88414 265
19602 981 659277 3981 674 336601 401209 303204 15215 888
19653 334 874313 7441 899 424634 026250 452219 57017 657
19703 692 492357 2832 143 118655 855284 856231 93719 443
19754 068 109408 1602 397 512675 542321 906243 42521 564
19804 434 682469 6182 632 335692 431361 401256 06822 828
19854 830 979541 8142 887 552706 009401 469269 45624 678
19905 263 593622 4433 167 807721 582441 525283 54926 687
19955 674 380707 4623 430 052727 405481 099299 43828 924
20006 070 581795 6713 679 737727 986520 229315 91531 043
20056 453 628887 9643 917 508724 722558 281332 15632 998**

An example of industrial agriculture providing cheap and plentiful food is the U.S.'s "most successful program of agricultural development of any country in the world". Between 1930 and 2000, U.S. agricultural productivity (output divided by all inputs) rose by an average of about 2 percent annually, causing food prices to decrease. "The percentage of U.S. disposable income spent on food prepared at home decreased, from 22 percent as late as 1950 to 7 percent by the end of the century."[62]

Other impacts[edit]


Main article: Environmental impact of agriculture

Industrial agriculture uses huge amounts of water, energy,[63] and industrial chemicals, increasing pollution in the arable land, usable water, and atmosphere. Herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers are accumulating in ground and surface waters. "Many of the negative effects of industrial agriculture are remote from fields and farms. Nitrogen compounds from the Midwest, for example, travel down the Mississippi to degrade coastal fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.[64] But other adverse effects are showing up within agricultural production systems—for example, the rapidly developing resistance among pests is rendering our arsenal of herbicides and insecticides increasingly ineffective."[65]Agrochemicals and monoculture have been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder, in which the individual members of bee colonies disappear.[66] Agricultural production is highly dependent on bees to pollinate many varieties of fruits and vegetables.


Main article: Rural sociology

A study done for the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment conducted by the UC Davis Macrosocial Accounting Project concluded that industrial agriculture is associated with substantial deterioration of human living conditions in nearby rural communities.[67]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abEncyclopædia Britannica's definition of Intensive Agriculture
  2. ^BBC School fact sheet on intensive farming
  3. ^Factory farming. Webster's Dictionary definition of Factory farming
  4. ^Encyclopædia Britannica's definition of Factory farm
  5. ^* Overton, Mark. Agricultural Revolution in England 1500 - 1850 (September 19, 2002), BBC.
    • Valenze, Deborah. The First Industrial Woman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 183.
    • Kagan, Donald. The Western Heritage (London: Prentice Hall, 2004), p. 535-9.
  6. ^Noel Kingsbury (2009). Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 
  7. ^Janick, Jules. "Agricultural Scientific Revolution: Mechanical"(PDF). Purdue University. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  8. ^Reid, John F. (Fall 2011). "The Impact of Mechanization on Agriculture". The Bridge on Agriculture and Information Technology. 41 (3). 
  9. ^Stinner, D.H (2007). "The Science of Organic Farming". In William Lockeretz. Organic Farming: An International History. Oxfordshire, UK & Cambridge, Massachusetts: CAB International (CABI). ISBN 978-0-85199-833-6. Retrieved 30 April 2013  ebook ISBN 978-1-84593-289-3
  10. ^"A Historical Perspective". International Fertilizer Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  11. ^ abMatson; Parton, WJ; Power, AG; Swift, MJ; et al. (1997). "Agricultural Intensification and Ecosystem Properties". Science. 277 (5325): 504–9. doi:10.1126/science.277.5325.504. PMID 20662149. 
  12. ^ abcdMatthew Scully
Early 20th-century image of a tractor ploughing an alfalfa field
A commercial chicken house raising broiler pullets for meat
Satellite image of circular crop fields in Haskell County, Kansas, in late June 2001. 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 under or have lain in fallow for the year.
Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China

Sustainable Agriculture Essay

3323 Words14 Pages

Sustainable Agriculture

Agriculture has been a fundamental component of human societies for centuries. It is so fundamental in fact that it is often forgotten by those dependent on its products, but not directly involved in the production. As we enter the 21st century, agriculture is beginning to receive more attention from the general public as the implications of farming are realized and the problem of potential world wide food shortage is addressed. With the future in focus, much of agricultural establishment uses words like biotech, and high-tech to describe their goals for U.S. agriculture. With few exceptions, traditional agriculturalists see a continuing trend of industrial agricultural practices that continue to drive…show more content…

Those that oppose the industrial model for the future of agriculture have adopted a different paradigm which falls under the concept of "Sustainable Agriculture." Like industrial agriculture, sustainable agriculture has many different tools and applications, but is defined by its attempts to make agricultural decisions which are environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially just for all sectors of society (Hassanein 3). This concept of Sustainable agriculture, while differing in its application, represents a logical, realistic, and necessary alternative to industrial agriculture given the reality of limited resources and anticipated food shortages in the 21st century.

Industrial Agriculture: Can the trend continue?

Contributions in the Past

At the start of the 20th century, the gains from industrializing agriculture were undeniable. As an agrarian society, much of the time, money, energy, and resources of farming went to support the farming community themselves. At the same time, the opportunities of the industrial revolution were becoming evident. In order to harness such

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