Agropedia, the Agriculture and Agronomy Portal
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dryland farming; pastoral herding on rangeland is still the most common means of raising livestock. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture.The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials.
(Pictured left: A modern cement grain elevator in Alberta, Canada)
Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world. As with other developed nations, the proportion of the population and GDP devoted to agriculture fell dramatically over the 20th century but it remains an important element of the Canadian economy.
A wide range of agriculture is practiced in Canada, from sprawling wheat fields of the prairies to summer produce of the Okanagan valley. In the federal government, overview of Canadian agriculture is the responsibility of the department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Agriculture in Canada comprises five main agricultural production sectors of commodity production resulting in farm cash receipts from both domestic and foreign markets.
Horticulture which includes garden crops, and fruits became easier to grow with the development of plant hardiness zones. Apples, pears, plums and prunes, peaches, apricots, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, loganberries and fruit orchards are numerous and reach commercial size in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Niagara Peninsula and Norfolk County of Ontario and Okanagan Valley  of British Columbia.
Hazelnuts are harvested in Eastern Canada and British Columbia. Maple syrup and maple sugar, maple butter, and maple taffy are products of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River. The main market for Canadian maple syrup and sugar is the United States  Potatoes are an abundant harvest of the Maritime provinces. Sugar beets and beet root sugar are harvested in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta.
115,000 cattle roamed the southern prairies by 1900. Livestock can include the raising of cows, also commonly called cattle. Recently domestication of the buffalo  and elk has initiated a new food industry. Sheep have been raised for both wool and meat. Bovine or pig barns have been a part of livestock culture. Scientists have been making forward steps in swine research giving rise to intensive pig farming. The domestication of various farm animals meant that corresponding industries such as feedlots, animal husbandry and meat processing have also been studied, and developed.
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:
Sustainable agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill. More recently, as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen, organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop.
Categories: Sustainable agriculture, Sustainability
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- ^ "Welcome to AAFC Online". Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Government of Canada. 2008-01-24.
- ^ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. "National Land and Water Information Service Plant Hardiness Zones in Canada". Retrieved 2006-11-28
- ^ Sage Internet Solutions. ((c) 1998 - 2006). "Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada". Shangaan Webservices Inc. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ "Canadian Biodiversity: Species: Plants: European hazel or hazelnut". Canadian Biodiversity Web Site. Redpath Museum, McGill University. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ "Canadian maple syrup - A Taste of Canada: Our Homegrown Cuisine - CBC Archives". Canaian Broadcasting Corporation. 2004-06-25 Broadcast December 13, 1978.
- ^ "PEI Potatoes! Prince Edward Island Potato Board - Why PEI Potatoes ...". PEI Potato Board. 2003-07-08. Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ "Special Crops". Canada's Sugar Beet Industry. Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, special Crops. 2007-04-08. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ Torsten, Bernhardt. "Canadian Biodiversity: Wood bison". Wood bison. Redpath Museum, McGill University. Archived from the original on August 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ Thorleifson, Ian (2003-07-24). "Elk on a beef farm". Deerfarmer. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ "Canadian Sheep Breeders' Association". © 2007 BC Sheep Federation. 2007-01-29.
- ^ BLAIR, R. "Pig Farming". © 2007 Historica Foundation of Canada. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
- ^ Gold, M. (July 2009). What is Sustainable Agriculture?. United States Department of Agriculture, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
- ^ Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603
- ^ Organic and non-GMO Report. New certification programs aim to encourage sustainable farming.