When some of you hear the word farmer, you probably imagine a sun-burned older man in worn overalls with a piece prairie grass hanging from the side of his mouth. Maybe he’s sitting on a bucket and milking a cow. There’s a good chance you don’t even realize how immensely important and diverse the agricultural industry is.
It’s responsible for so many of the things we use everyday – and I’m not just talking food. And not only is farming incredibly useful, it helps create some of our environment’s natural beauty that we’re so lucky to have access to. Check out this course on the diverse range of plants in Southwest China that gardeners around the world dream about.
Probably the most obvious advantage of a strong agricultural system is it’s creation of food for a country’s inhabitants. Getting the proper diet and nutrients is obviously one of the most basic necessities for every person in any nation, whether it’s developing or an economic powerhouse. It’s also one resource where it’s simply not realistic to rely entirely on imported goods.
Not only is it difficult and expensive to transport large quantities of food across countries and continents, it’s a huge strike against a country’s ability to be self-sufficient. Depending on where you grew up, there’s a chance that advances in technology mean that you’ve never known a shortage of food. Sure, maybe you didn’t have the money, but grocery stores were still stocked and people were still buying burgers from drive-throughs. But the truth is, it’s a very real danger that can effect any nation that doesn’t have the proper farming infrastructure in place.
For a step-by-step guide to planting and nurturing your own medicinal food forest, give this awesome course instructed by an expect in permaculture a try.
The agricultural sector creates tons of jobs. And it’s not just ranchers and farmers. A whole array of workers are needed, with vastly different skills. This includes engineers for things like designing and maintaining machinery, scientists to study ways to increase productivity, and sales people to make deals with the middlemen that bring the food to our tables.
So many of a nation’s other industries rely directly on the products of agriculture as well, meaning it’s impact on the job market is simply massive. Consider places like markets, grocery stores, restaurants, factories, and all of the other establishments that simply couldn’t exist without the meat, vegetables, fruits, grains, and raw materials created by farming.
Building the Economy
A strong agricultural output has been proven to be absolutely vital to the growth of a developing nation’s economy. Besides for providing employment and income, it will likely serve as one of the main exports of any poorer country that doesn’t have high amounts of valuable natural resources. It also helps create something called a marketable surplus.
This means there is an excess of food being stored, which will help to fuel the growth of other sectors of the economy. When food is no longer an issue, more of a focus can be placed on building various other industries and tapping into a nation’s other resources with things like mining or drilling. Part of the marketable surplus can also be used in trading.
As mentioned in the last section, agriculture can be huge in giving poorer nation’s something to exchange with potential trade partners for money, goods, materials, and much more. It has the potential to provide a large percentage of the country’s income. This profit is seen by both the government and individual farmers and workers.
Even more developed nations owe solid portions of their national income to the goods and raw materials created by agriculture. Not to mention their role in establishing trade ties in the first place and helping to develop and maintain our domestic trade routes and railways.
Developing Raw Materials
Agriculture creates numerous raw materials that are imperative to other industries. This includes things like sugar, cotton, tobacco, and many types of oils. These materials are used to create other products, which establishes new industries and even more job opportunities. It also begins the food and vegetable processing cycle.
Your clothes, paper, furniture, food, cigarettes, and almost anything else you can imagine would not be possible without agriculture. Next time you use something around the house, think about how it was made and you’ll start to realize that the effects of farming are everywhere in our daily lives.
Sustaining the Environment
When it’s done the wrong way, agricultural can actually cause a negative impact on the environment. However, responsible farming helps develop and nourish rich ecosystems and landscapes wherever it’s implemented. Farming helps to create fertile, healthy soil filled with nutrients for growing all sorts of different plants. Also, soil erosion can actually be a pretty serious issue, believe it or not.
But proper farming methods help slow erosion by creating healthy earth filled with natural organisms that doesn’t blow or wash away with the wind and rain. This great blog post goes even more in-depth discussing the importance of soil conservation and some of the various ways it’s accomplished.
To learn how to create nutrient-rich, organic soil right in your own backyard, take this course led by a conservation biologist.
Convinced yet? Farming is the main reason that humans aren’t still living in caves and chasing down animals on foot. You might forget about it because of how easy it is to buy clothes or groceries at the store today, but it’s still vitally important for our economy, environment, and way of life. If your interest is now piqued, this cool course on the process of aquaponics – growing plants without soil – is sure to fascinate you.