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Agriculture . The primary… primary-sector economic activity . Overview. Approximately ½ of the people in LDCs are farmers—overwhelming majority are subsistence farmers LDCs are home to 97% of the world’s farmers Less than 2% of people in the U.S. are farmers

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    1. Agriculture The primary… primary-sector economic activity

    2. Overview • Approximately ½ of the people in LDCs are farmers—overwhelming majority are subsistence farmers • LDCs are home to 97% of the world’s farmers • Less than 2% of people in the U.S. are farmers • Farming is an economic activity that still depends very much on the local diversity of environmental and cultural conditions in each place • In each society, farmers possess very specific knowledge of their environmental conditions and certain technologies for modifying the landscape

    3. Overview Continued… • Farmers choose an agriculture practice based on their perceived value—values partly economic and partly cultural • How farmers deal with their physical environment varies according to dietary preferences, availability of technology, and other cultural traditions • Individual farmers make decisions on a local scale—agriculture is as caught up in globalization as any other industry • Big business in MDCs—international trade connector in LDC

    4. Agriculture in General • Agriculture is the deliberate modification of Earth’s surface through cultivation of plants and rearing animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain • Originated when humans domesticated plants and animals for their use • Crop is any plant cultivated by people

    5. Origin of Agriculture Hunters and Gatherers Invention of Agriculture Geographers and Scientists agree that agriculture originated in multiple hearths—do NOT agree on when it originated; when or why it diffused Southwest Asia (Middle East) was an early center of crop domestication, and the use of domesticated animals to cultivate crops ** Read and note when/where scientists believe specific crops and animals were first domesticated • Nomadic groups; probably less than 50 people • Men hunted game and fished; women collected berries, roots, and nuts • Travel depended on movement of game and seasonal growth of plants at various locations • Modern H & Gsare Spinifex(Australia), Sentinlese (India Islands), and Bushmen (Botswana and Namibia)

    6. Different Scientific Theories Environmental Factors Human Behavior A preference for living in a fixed place Over thousands of years, plant cultivation apparently evolved from a combination of accident and deliberate experiment • First domestication of crops and animals coincided with the climate change around 10,000 years ago • End of ice age—Earth’s midlatitudes to polar regions no longer covered in ice • Massive redistribution of humans, plants, and animals

    7. Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture Subsistence Commercial Found generally in MDCs, is the production of food primarily for sale off of the farm • Found generally in LDCs, is the production of food primarily for consumption by the farmer’s family Five Principal Differences Distinguish Commercial from Subsistence: Purpose of Farming Percentage of Farmers in the Labor Force Use of Machinery Farm Size Relationship of Farming to other Businesses

    8. DerwentWhittlesey’s Map • 1936 – created agricultural regions map • Identified 11 main agricultural regions, plus an area where agriculture was nonexistent • 5 important in LDCs; 6 important in MDCs • Striking similarities to climate regions map ** Read book (311) for examples of similarities

    9. Problem with Climate Theory • Problems with environmental determinism (Chapter 1) makes geographers wary of putting too much emphasis on climate • Cultural preferences also explain agricultural differences in areas of similar climate Ex. Pork production virtually nonexistent in predominately Muslim regions

    10. 1. Purpose of Farming Subsistence Commercial Grow crops and raise animals for sale off of the farm Not sold to individuals, but to food processing companies Ex. General Mills or Kraft have contracts with commercial farmers • Produce for their own consumption • Some surplus may be sold to the government or private firms, but it is not the farmer’s primary purpose

    11. 2. Percentage of Farmers in the Labor Force • MDCs – 5% of workers engaged directly in farming (only 2% in N. America) • LDCs – 50% • Yet, farmers in U.S. and Canada produce enough for themselves and the rest of the region, but also a surplus to feed people elsewhere • U.S. Pattern: - 1940—6 million farmers; 1960—4 million ; currently stable around 2 million

    12. 3. Use of Machinery • LDCs – farmers do much of the work with hand tools and animal power • Traditionally equipment made from wood—1770s first iron plow built • Tractors, combines, corn pickers, planters, and other factory-made farm machines have replaced or supplemented manual labor • Advancements in transportation and science have increased productivity

    13. 4. Farm Size • Average size relatively large in commercial farming • U.S. and Canada commercial farms average 449 acres—98% family owned • Frequently rent nearby fields for expansion • In U.S., 5% of farms produce 75% of total agriculture • Expensive business—usually borrow $ from a bank and repay after the output is sold

    14. 4. Farm Size Continued… • U.S. has 60% fewer farms and 85% fewer farmers in 2000 than in 1900, but 13% more farmland—irrigation and reclamation • However, U.S. farmland has decreased since 1960 due to expansion of urban areas—about 1.2 million acres per year • BIG Issue – loss of 500,000 acres of prime agricultural land—most productive farmland (urban sprawl)

    15. 5. Relationship of Farming to Other Businesses • Agribusiness – system of commercial farming found in LDCs • Farm is NOT an isolated activity but is integrated into a large food-production industry • Farmers less than 2% of U.S. labor force—around 20% of the labor force works in food production and services related to agribusiness—food processing, packaging, storing, distributing, and retailing • Other aspects include tractor building, fertilizer, and seed distribution—usually owned by large corporations