What is farming and why is it important?
Farming is a way of life that supplies us with the majority of our food supply. Most food supplies are produced on farms. Farming, however, is not limited to the production of food. It also provides us with materials used for clothing and shelter.
What types of food products are produced on farms?
There are many different kinds of farms. Some farms grow and raise a little bit of everything and are known as mixed farms; others cater to the production of one particular product and are known as specialized farms.
Some farms cater specifically to the production of crops. Crops are plants, and they include cereals such as oats, rice, corn, millet, wheat, and barley; root crops such as sweet potatoes, and turnips; tubers that include potatoes and yams; pulses that include dry beans and peas; fruits and vegetables; oil-bearing crops like soybeans and coconuts; sugar-bearing crops such as sugar beets and sugar cane; nuts and cocoa, coffee and tea; fiber-producing plants like cotton and flax; and wood-producing plants such as like oak, maple, and pine.
Some farms cater specifically to livestock and other animals. Cattle, chickens, goats, hogs, and sheep are raised on livestock farms. Animals raised here are used primarily as food for meat production. Cows used primarily for milk production are raised on dairy farms. Dairy farms are found near big-city markets. Some fish are raised in ponds in fish farms. Farms used to raise chickens, turkeys, and other types of poultry are called poultry farms. Some poultry farms are used solely for the production of eggs and grow no crops at all
How does farming in the past in our country differ from farming today?
Long ago, many people throughout the world spent endless hours in search of food. People like the Native Americans, got the majority of their food by gathering wild plants, hunting, and fishing. They often used simple, handcrafted tools to find food. They could gather only small quantities of food at a time. The early settlers worked the land to raise crops. Family members and friends worked long, hard hours tilling the soil. They used plows pulled by horses and/or oxen to prepare the soil, planted seeds, depended on rains and natural occurrences to help their crops grow. Often, they managed to raise just enough food for their immediate family members. Sometimes, insects destroyed the crops. At other times, dry spells and bad weather conditions interfered with crop production. Life was difficult. Nevertheless, families and communities often worked together so that food was available to all. Farming, long ago, was a widespread way of life.
Today, Science and modern technology have improved the farming industry. Today, food is produced to feed an enormous number of people. The production of crops has been made simpler: machines such as chisel plows, planters, and cultivators are used to quickly till large portions of land and plant seeds. Irrigation techniques are used to help water crops where too little water exists to grow crops. Farmers and scientists work together to make sure that the soil contains enough nutrients and water to produce healthy crops. They ensure that the earth contains enough nutrients to help plants grow. Using special machines, they till the soil, loosening it to kill and remove weeds and to circulate water and air. They cultivate the land, sometimes applying herbicides to lessen weed growth. Many farmers apply pesticides to ward off harmful insects. Others use organic farming. They rely on the use of natural substances and crop rotation to control pests. Crop rotation is the rotation of crops from year to year to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Do all vegetables grow above the ground?
Many vegetables grow above the ground like lettuce, cucumbers, kale, string beans, and broccoli. These vegetables are often leafy or pod-like in form. Some vegetables, however, grow with a major portion of the plant beneath the ground. These are known as root vegetables like carrots and turnips, or tubers like potatoes and yams, and some fruits and seeds, like peanuts.
Where do most fruits grow?
Many fruits grow on trees or vines. Fruits like cherries, bananas, oranges, apples, pears, peaches, and oranges grow on trees. Others like grapes, pumpkin, and watermelon grow on vines. They are easy to identify because they contain seeds and/or pits.
What is cereal and where does it come from?
When we eat Corn Flakes, Apple Jacks, Rice Krispies, or Wheaties, we are eating cereal foods. Cereals, also known as grains, are seeds that come from such plants as corn, rice, barley, oats, sorghum, and wheat. Grains are usually ground into meal or flour and are processed to create many of the commercial foods we eat such as bread, rolls, and many of the popular cereals we consume.
What is the difference between root plants and tubers?
Carrots, beets, and radishes, are thick roots that grow beneath the ground. Other plants, like potatoes, artichokes, and yams, are tubers. Tubers also grow beneath the ground, but they have “eyes” or buds that can sprout new shoots or stems. Their stems often grow beneath the ground.
Are eggs considered meat or poultry?
According to nutritionists, eggs, a protein food, is classified as meat.
Someone said that when you eat meat, you’re eating vegetables too. How can that be?
Living things depend on one another. Let’s look at a few examples. When we eat hamburger, beef ribs, or beef bacon, we are eating meat that comes from a cow. That cow delights on grass, which is a plant. When we eat barbecued chicken, chicken tenders or buffalo wings, we are probably eating a hen. That hen eats corn and other grains, which are plants. When we eat salmon, tuna, or sardines, we are eating flesh foods from the sea or surrounding fresh waters. Many fish eat plankton--plant and animal life forms found in these types of water. Again, plants are consumed. Plants are continuously involved in this chain. Based on this observation, when you eat meat, you are eating vegetables too!
Is there a formal name for the interconnectedness that exists between plants and animals?
Yes. The interconnection between animals and living things as noted above is known as the food chain.