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1 Key Issue #3 – Where are Agricultural Regions in More Developed Countries?

2 Don’t worry about writing
Commercial agriculture in MDC’s can be divided into 6 main types: mixed crops and livestock dairying grain farming livestock ranching Mediterranean agriculture gardening and fruit culture. The location of each depends largely on climate

Most common form of ag. west of the Appalachians in the US and W Europe.

4 Characteristics of Mixed Crop and Livestock Farming
The biggest characteristic is its integration of crops and livestock. Most of the crops grown are fed to the animals. In turn, the livestock provide manure to grow more crops. A typical mixed farm devotes nearly all land to growing crops, but more than 3/4ths of its income derives from the sale of animal products. In the US, beef, pork, and chickens are the main animals grown on farms.

5 Corn is typically grown and fed to the animals because of its higher yield per acre than other grains. It can also be sold and processed into oil, margarine, and other food products. Soybeans are the 2nd most grown product. They also can be fed directly to the animals or sold for use in human products like tofu, soy milk, or soybean cooking oil. Farmers are able to distribute the work load across the entire year and receive seasonal variations of income.

6 DAIRY FARMING Dairy farming is the most important type of commercial agriculture practiced on farms near the large urban areas in N. America & Europe. It accounts for about 20% of the total value of all agricultural output. Traditionally, fresh milk was rarely consumed except directly on the farm or in nearby villages. With the rapid growth of cities in MDC’s in the 19th century, the demand for milk to urban residents increased. Rising incomes allowed people to buy milk, which was once considered a luxury.

7 Why are dairy farms located near urban areas?
Mostly because of transportation issues since milk is highly perishable. The ring surrounding a city from which milk can be supplied without spoiling is known as the milkshed. Before railroads, the range was 30 miles. Today, its more like 300 miles


9 Regional Variations Dairies in the eastern US tend to supply milk.
To the west, farmers tend to sell their output to processors who make cheese, butter, or evaporated or condensed milk. ex: 5% of milk is processed in Pennsylvania, while 90+% is processed in Wisconsin. Dairy farmers, like other farmers, tend to sell their products to distributors who then sell to consumers

10 Problems for Dairy Farmers
Cows require constant attention… milking 2x a day, feeding during winter, etc. The number of farms with milk cows declined in the US by 2/3rds from , due to lack of profitability and excessive workload. However, the number of cows only declined by 1/8th and production actually increased by 1/4th.





15 GRAIN FARMING Grain is the seed from various grasses, like wheat, corn, barley, oats, millet, rice, and others. Commercial grain agriculture is distinguished from mixed crop and livestock farming because it is grown primarily for human consumption. The most important crop grown is wheat, used to make bread flour. It sells for a higher price and has more uses than other crops, thus making it more profitable to ship remotely. The US is by far the largest commercial grain producer. Commercial grain farms are generally located where it is too dry for mixed crop and livestock agriculture.

16 The McCormick reaper, invented in the 1830s, first permitted large-scale wheat production. Today, the combine machine does three tasks: reaps, threshes, and cleans. Unlike other agricultural products, wheat is grown to a considerable extent for international trade and is the world’s leading export crop. As the US and Canada account for about half of the world’s wheat exports, they are appropriately labeled the world’s “breadbasket.”


18 McCormick Mechanical Reaper





23 LIVESTOCK RANCHING Ranching is the commercial grazing of livestock over an extensive area. It is adapted to semiarid or arid land… it is practiced in MDC’s, where the vegetation is too sparse and the soil too poor to support crops. Read

Mediterranean agriculture exists primarily in the lands that border the Med. Sea. Farmers in Southern California, Chile, and South Africa also practice it. Prevailing sea winds provide moisture and keep winter temperatures warm. Summers are hot and dry, but sea breezes provide relief. The land is usually hilly, and mountains frequently plunge directly into the sea. Most crops in the Med. Lands are grown for human consumption. Horticulture – which is the growing of fruits, vegetables, and flowers – and tree crops form the commercial base of Med. Farming.

25 Around the Mediterranean Sea, the two most important cash crops are olives and grapes. 2/3rds of the world’s wine is made in countries bordering the Mediterreanean Sea. Despite the importance of grapes and olives, about half of the land is devoted to growing cereals. The rapid growth of urban areas in the US, especially Los Angeles, has converted high-quality agricultural land into housing developments… Thus far, it has been offset with expansions into arid lands, which requires massive irrigation, so it is yet to be seen what problems this may bring.


This is the predominant type of agriculture in the Southeast US… long growing season and humid climate and is accessible to the large markets of the Northeast US. The type of agriculture practiced in the SE is typically called truck farming because “truck” was a Middle English word meaning bartering.

28 Truck farms grow lots of the fresh fruits & vegetables that people demand in MDC’s.
They are highly efficient large-scale operations that take full advantage of machines at every stage of the growth process. Truck farmers are willing to experiment to maximize efficiency and are willing to hire migrant workers to keep down costs. Farms tend to specialize in a few crops, and a handful of farms may dominate national output of some fruits and vegetables.



31 PLANTATION FARMING This is a form of commercial agriculture practiced in the tropics and subtropics, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. They are situated in LDC’s, but are owned and operated by Europeans and North Americans and grow crops primarily for MDC’s. A plantation is a large farm that specializes in one or two crops like cotton, sugarcane, coffee, rubber, tobacco, etc. They are located in sparsely settled areas, so they import workers and provide them with food, housing, and social services. Until the Civil War, plantations were important in the US South

32 Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston, SC

33 Boone Hall Plantation Slave Cabins


35 Coffee Plantation

36 Tea Plantation

37 Banana Plantation

38 Chiquita Banana Plantation, Colombia

39 Pineapple Plantation, Hawaii

40 China-Taiwan

41 Key Issue #4 – Why Does Agriculture Vary Among Regions?

42 Three types of reasons help to explain differences among agricultural regions:
Environmental Cultural Economic

Regions of distinctive agricultural practices exist in part b/c of differences in climate. Ex: the Middle East is dry, so pastoral nomadism occurs. Central Africa has a tropical climate, so shifting cultivation is the predominant type. The correlation between agriculture and climate is by no means perfect, but clearly some relationship persists between climate and agriculture.

Two economic issues discussed in earlier chapters influence the choice of crops planted by subsistence farmers… First, b/c of rapid population growth in less developed countries, subsistence farmers must feed an increasing number of people. Second, b/c of adopting the international trade approach to development, subsistence farmers must grow more food for export instead of for direct consumption

45 Subsistence Farming and Population Growth
Read Ester Boserup’s explanation of why population growth influences the distribution of types of subsistence farming. Pages

46 Subsistence Farming and International Trade
To expand production, subsistence farmers need higher yield seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, and machinery. Some needed supplies can be secured through trade. To generate the funds they need to buy agricultural supplies, LDC’s must produce something they can sell to MDC’s… the LDC’s sell some manufactured goods, but most raise funds through the sale of crops.

47 Consumers in MDC’s are willing to pay high prices for fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be out of season, or for crops such as coffee and tea that cannot be grown there b/c of the climate. The sale of export crops brings a LDC foreign currency, a portion of which can be used to buy agricultural supplies. However, with rapidly growing populations, the money may have to be used to feed the people.

48 Drug Crops The export crops chosen in some LDC’s, especially in Latin America and Asia, are those that can be converted to drugs. Various drugs, such as coca leaf, marijuana, opium, and hashish, have distinctive geographic distributions. Coca leaf is grown in NW S. America, esp. Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Most of its processing and distribution is based in Colombia. Mexico grows the majority of the marijuana that reaches the US. Most opium originates in Asia, especially Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Laos. Thailand serves as the transportation hub for distribution for MDC’s.

49 Last year, Afghan farmers grew 93% of the world’s opium

Two economic factors influence the choice of crops or livestock by commercial farmers: access to markets overproduction

51 Access to Markets B/c the purpose of commercial farming is to sell produce off the farm, the distance from the farm to the market influences the farmer’s choice of crop to plant. Geographers use the von Thϋnen model to help explain the importance of proximity to market in the choice of crops on commercial farms.

52 The von Thϋnen model shows that a commercial farmer must combine two sets of monetary values to determine the most profitable crop: the value of the yield per hectare (acre) the cost of transporting the yield per hectare These calculations demonstrate that farms located closer to the market tend to select crops with higher transportation costs per hectare of output, whereas more distant farms are more likely to select crops that can be transported less expensively.

53 von Thϋnen (the man) noticed that crops were grown in different rings around the cities in the area near his home in Northern Germany… milk and market oriented gardens were in the first ring (perishable) wood lots where timber was cut for construction and fuel was in the second (heavy) third ring was used for various crops and pasture; often rotated the outermost ring was devoted exclusively to animal grazing which requires lots of space.




57 Johann Heinrich von Thünen, 

58 Von Thünen developed a model of agricultural land use
Von Thünen developed a model of agricultural land use. His model was created before industrialization and is based on the following limiting assumptions: The central market place is located within what is referred to as an "Isolated State", suggesting a community that is self sufficient and has no external influences. This "Isolated State" is surrounded by an unoccupied, unused land. The land of the State is completely homogeneous, having no rivers, mountains or other obstructions. Furthermore, the soil, climate and all other factors on agriculture are the same. In the "Isolated State" there are no major veins of transportation. That is to say that the farmers in the State transport their own products to the market via oxcart, over land, directly to the central marketplace. Farmers in the state do what they need to earn the greatest profit in the marketplace.

59 Although von Thϋnen developed the model for a small region with a single market center, it also applies to a national or global scale.

60 Overproduction in Commercial Farming
Commercial farmers suffer from low incomes b/c they produce too much food rather than too little as agriculture becomes more efficient. While the food supply in MDC’s has increased dramatically, the demand has remained about the same b/c the markets are already saturated. In MDC’s, consumption of a particular commodity does not change significantly because the price falls… i.e. people do not switch from wheat to corn products just because the price of corn falls.

61 The US government has three policies to attack the problem of excess productive capacity…
1st, farmers are encouraged to avoid planting crops that are in excess supply… if so, the gov’t encourages planting fallow crops like clover to restore nutrients to the soil 2nd, the government pays farmers when certain commodity prices are low. The government sets a target price and pays farmers the difference from what they receive in the market. 3rd, the government buys surplus production and sells or donates it to foreign governments. In addition, low-income Americans receive food stamps in part to stimulate their purchase of additional food.


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