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A Brief Lesson on the History of Agriculture


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Agriculture is the process of producing food, materials, and animal feed by growing and harvesting them. Without agriculture, we wouldn’t be what we are today. We’d be busy chasing wild animals and scrounging the forest floor for food. Needless to say, agriculture plays an integral part in modern society, not just for the workers but for the community and industries at large that consume agricultural yields.

Photo:  inventiva.co.in

The development of agriculture started around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Back then, there were 8 Neolithic crops that people would harvest.  Each place in the world was known to grow different kinds of crops. However, everything changed with the development of tools.

Agriculture wasn’t always a smooth process. Farmers had to deal with natural disasters, such as droughts and floods, that would obliterate their yields and ruin the soil. Although natural threats exist today, we now have various means of protecting our crops from natural disasters.

Between 6000 and 5000 BC, the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia developed irrigation practices that included underground channels known as qanats. A couple of thousand years later, people started to developed metalworking techniques that made agricultural practices a lot easier. One of the most game-changing tools was bronze axes and plows. Bronze was used by farmers to create and prepare a large area for farming in less time and effort.

As tools became more sophisticated, farmers could grow crops that they normally couldn’t. For instance, Chinese farmers in 6000 BC started off with peas and wheat and moved onto rice. The new tool created more opportunities not just to grow new crops but also cultivate soil and prepare it for other plants.

However, a big change in agriculture started in 1750-1850. This period was also known as the British Agriculture Revolution. During this time, farmers developed new founding such as higher crop production that made their crops more sustainable. At the same time, more machines were created to help farmers do their job. Some of the machines that were created during this time included reapers and grain cutting and harvesting machines.

Agriculture grew at unprecedented levels, starting at the turn of the 20th century. One of the biggest changes in this era was gene splicing. At the time, hybrid crops were unintentional but with advanced research in the agricultural field, farmers could use scient to recreate certain phenomenon that their ancestors had no hopes of doing. The introduction of hybrid crops didn’t just yield high-quality vegetables but also astronomical yields.

To this day, farming practices are still being developed. Farmers don’t need to rely on manually cutting and harvesting crops since machines can do all of the heavy lifting for us and in much less time. One modern conundrum is the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers that not only threaten the quality of our crops but also the quality of the soil.

Photo: mikejohnson.house.gov

Despite the controversy, there isn’t much we can do besides stick to the status quo. Scientists are looking for new ways to use organic materials or farm waste products to shoo away pests, but we’re still quite a far way off from being truly 100% organic.


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