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Geography

Farming in rural areas

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Agriculture, or farming, is a primary industry. Farmers cultivate crops and rear animals to produce food and other products. Agriculture is affected by many of the same factors and concerns as other types of industry.

There are a range of agricultural operations from large commercial farms to small subsistence farms. All of these farms work to supply the constant demand for agricultural produce.

Farming

Sheep graze on a farm in Devon

Sheep graze on a farm in Devon

Farms can be categorised according to what is being grown or reared, the size of the operation and the agricultural techniques being used.

Farming can be:

  • sedentary or nomadic
  • subsistence or commercial
  • arable, pastoral or mixed
  • extensive or intensive

Sedentary or nomadic?

  • Sedentary farming is when a farm is based in the same location all the time.
  • Nomadic farming is when a farmer moves from one place to another. This is common in some LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ].

Subsistence or commercial?

  • Subsistence farming is when crops and animals are produced by a farmer to feed their family, rather than to take to market.
  • Commercial farming is when crops and animals are produced to sell at market for a profit.

Arable, pastoral or mixed?

  • Arable farms grow crops. Crops are plants that are harvested from the ground to be eaten or sold.
  • Pastoral farms rear animals - either for animal by-products such as milk, eggs or wool, or for meat.
  • Mixed farms grow crops and rear animals.

Extensive or intensive?

  • Extensive farming is where a relatively small amount of produce is generated from a large area of farmland.
  • Intensive farming is where a large amount of produce is generated from a relatively small area of land. Inputs will be high to achieve a high yield per hectare. Inputs could be either fertilisers, machines or labour.

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