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Agricultural Geography

Key Issue #1: Where did agriculture originate?

Origins of Agriculture
Agriculture is deliberate modification of Earths surface through cultivation of plants and rearing of animals to obtain sustenance or economic gain. Thus, agriculture originated when humans first domesticated plants and animals for their use.

Origins of Agriculture
Hunters and Gatherers all humans were hunters and gatherers before agriculture
Small groups Men hunted Women gathered The groups traveled often Today, less than .005% of the worlds population survives off of hunting and gathering

Hunters and Gatherers

Invention of Agriculture
Observation over time: reproduction of plants, water, fertilizer Agriculture evolves over time Animals may have been domesticated first for religious purposes or as household pets

Invention of Agriculture
Two types of agriculture:
Vegetative planting the reproduction of plants by direct cloning from existing plants, such as cutting roots and dividing plants Seed Agriculture came later; the reproduction of plants by the planting of seeds that result from sexual fertilization
This is most used by farmers today

Location of Agricultural Hearths

Agriculture developed in multiple, independent hearths from which it diffused First Vegetative Planting: Sauer believes that it was in Southeast Asia

Location of Agricultural Hearths

Seed Agriculture: originated in more than one hearth The Eastern Hemisphere: 3 Hearths (Western India, Northern China, and Ethiopia)
Diffused to SW Asia where wheat, barley were domesticated as well as herd animals (cattle, sheep, goats) Rice probably developed in SE Asia

Location of Agricultural Hearths

Seed Agriculture in the Western Hemisphere:
Southern Mexico squash, maize (corn) Northern Peru Squash, Beans, and Cotton Animals Llama, alpaca, and turkeys (herd animals did not come until the Europeans did)



Classifying Agricultural Regions

Differences in Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture Subsistence agriculture, found in PINGs, is the production of food primarily for consumption by the farmers family. Commercial agriculture, found in PEDs, is the production of food primarily for sale off the farm.

Purpose of Farming
In PINGs, people produce food for their own consumption. In commercial farming plants and animals are to be sold
Agricultural products are sold to food processing companies such as General Mills and Kraft. Then, it is sold to the people.

Percentage of Farmers in the Labor Force

In PEDs, less than 1/10 of the labor force works in agriculture.
In the U.S. and Canada, only 2% work in agriculture, but they produce enough food for the country and extra to sell.

In PINGs, over work in agriculture

Use of Machinery
In PINGS hand tools and animal power In PEDs machinery
Transportation has aided commercial farmers Electronics and scientific advances also aid commercial farming

Farm Size
Subsistence Agriculture relatively small Commercial Agriculture large
In U.S., 98% are family owned In U.S., 1.4% of all U.S. farms account for 48% of all agricultural sales. Today in the U.S., there are fewer farmers, but we use more farmland than in 1900.

Relationship of Farming to Other Businesses

Agribusiness the system of farming found in the U.S. and other PEDs; called this because of the relationship between agriculture and business Although farming makes up only 2% of the labor force, 20% of the labor force is devoted to the food industry (processing, packaging, storing, distributing, and retailing)

Agriculture Affects These Industries

Mapping Agricultural Regions

Derwent Whittlesey developed the most widely used maps of agriculture regions in 1936
He identified 11 agriculture regions
5 in PINGs and 6 in PEDs