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History of Agricultural Systems. Origins of Agriculture Agriculture begins in densely populated areas.

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Presentation on theme: "History of Agricultural Systems. Origins of Agriculture Agriculture begins in densely populated areas."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of Agricultural Systems

2 Origins of Agriculture Agriculture begins in densely populated areas

3 Agriculture diffuses to remote areas… … as farmers displaced hunter-gatherers, between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. But, some innovations likely spread between cultures, too

4 Trading networks permit… the division of labor, and thus, the rise of civilization

5 But most agriculture was still… subsistence agriculture

6 Early trade was bartering Greek drachma of Aegina, 700 BCE but the rise of standard currency, (money), facilitated expanded trade and further division of labor.

7 Agriculture is labor intensive

8 Domestic animals augment human labor and provide fertilizer.


10 Industrialization in Europe A beam engine of the Watt type, London, 1859

11 Industrialization of agriculture Steam-powered tractor, 1882

12 Industrialization of agriculture Mechanical tillage Pump driven large irrigation systems Synthetic fertilizer Pesticides and herbicides Mechanical harvesting Intensive livestock operations What did each of these replace?

13 High-yielding varieties of plants that are uniform in size and respond well to these innovations.

14 Positive aspects of industrialization Global population, 1950-2010 Preventing food insecurity and famine as global populations grow

15 Extending industrialization to the third world: The Green Revolution Norman Borlaug developer of high yield grain varieties, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1970

16 Wealth, Development, Autonomy

17 Negative consequences of industrialization e.g. pollution from excessive pesticide and herbicide use

18 Reliance on finite fossil fuels Hubbert curve, showing declining production of oil in the US.

19 Land tenure changes due to increasing industrialization of agriculture leads to… Rural-to-urban migration and the rise of slums in cities around the world Kibera Slum Nairobi, Kenya

20 Returning to sustainability… Students: What does sustainability mean? How can the negative consequences of industrialization be ameliorated while still providing the benefits of modern agriculture?

21 Defining Sustainable Agriculture Satisfy human food and fiber needs Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls Sustain the economic viability of farm operations Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

22 Examples of sustainable practices Recycling crop waste and livestock manure Growing N-fixing legumes in rotation Amending soil organic matter More efficient irrigation systems No till farming; preventing soil erosion Reduced energy usage in all aspects of farming Biological controls of pests Free range animal husbandry Others?

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