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Harvesting wheat with a combine harvester accompanied by a tractor and trailer

Agriculture is the cultivation of land and breeding of animals and plants to provide food, fiber, medicinal plants and other products to sustain and enhance life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years; people gathered wild grains at least 105,000 years ago and began to plant them around 11,500 years ago before they became domesticated. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Crops originate from at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has in the past century come to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people worldwide still depend on subsistence agriculture.

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological developments have sharply increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage through contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, deforestation, antibiotic resistance, and growth hormones in industrially produced meat. Genetically modified organisms are widely used, although they are banned in several countries.

Selected general articles

Did you know...

  • ... that the brownfish is harvested commercially over most of its range despite being described by the IUCN as a vulnerable species?
  • ... that in Shinto, rice gruel divination is used for predicting the harvest?
  • ... that the diary of Mary Hardy provides a detailed record of an 18th-century English farming and brewing business?
  • ... that Henry Semon lost his seat in the Oregon legislature when he accepted a position on the state's agriculture board, but was reappointed to the legislature after resigning from the board?
  • ... that Sumner station was designed to resemble hop kilns, referencing the city's historical agriculture industry?
  • ... that the 1967 book Filipson by Frida Alexandr is the only first-hand description of life in that early 20th-century Brazilian Jewish farming colony written by a woman who lived there?

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For editor resources and to collaborate with other editors on improving Wikipedia's Agriculture-related articles, see WikiProject Agriculture.

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In the news

2 January 2019 – Indigenous territories of Brazil
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro issues a decree to place the responsibility for "identification, delimitation, demarcation and registration of lands traditionally occupied by indigenous people" at the Ministry of Agriculture, instead of the indigenous peoples affairs agency, FUNAI. The management of public forests also goes to the agriculture ministry. The move is seen as a big win for the industrial agribusiness lobby. (Reuters)


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