The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species.

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation. Synthetic nitrogen, along with mined rock phosphate, pesticides and mechanization, has greatly increased crop yields in the early 20th century. Increased supply of grains has led to cheaper livestock as well. Further, global yield increases were experienced later in the 20th century when high-yield varieties of common staple grains such as rice, wheat, and corn were introduced as a part of the Green Revolution.

As with many other industries, equipment used in the agriculture industry has evolved from simple and smaller tractors with pull type attachments to huge tractors with large folding attachments. In addition, computer assisted equipment now exists, and such things as GPS guidance allow farmers to seed, fertilize, and spray with absolutely minimal waste due to overlap.


Photo: Stan Shebs


Photo: United States Department of Agriculture