Why Is Agriculture So Important To Today’s Society?
Published: January 25, 2022
Agriculture, by definition, is the entire process of cultivating and producing food, feed, and fiber whether it be from plants or raising domesticated livestock. The rise of agriculture has closely mimicked the rise of man as a societal being. In fact, many scholars say that without agriculture and learning how to harvest the various crops, humans might not have evolved into the societies that we now belong to today.
History Of Agriculture
Agriculture began to be important to our ancient ancestors some twelve thousand years ago. Up until that time we were hunter-gatherers, traditionally moving with the herds across the great plains and mountains of the land and only settling in one spot when the cold forced them to do so. Its early development triggered a wave of changes in the human beings at the time, leading to a ‘neolithic revolution’. Agriculture gave humanity both the ability and a reason to stay in one place, creating permanent settlements and a supply of food that they didn’t have to travel for or hunt down, which was often risky itself. From here cities and societies arose and the global population soared from only about five million individuals ten thousand years ago to a staggering seven billion today.
Over the next millennia domestication of plants and animals led to many changes that made it easier for humanity to survive and thrive. Animal species, through careful selection, were bred for a diverse range of uses from their flesh, hide, meat and milk while many plants were selectively chosen for increased yields and productivity. Agriculture has also grown from a more traditional form of sustenance farming and has grown into an intensive commercial enterprise thanks to changes in industrial machinery, processing methods, and the expansion of the human population. People of the past likely would not recognize many of today’s plants or animal species, and humanity, along with science, has continued this agricultural evolution.
So Why Is Agriculture Still Important Today?
Civilization itself began with agriculture, and its significance has not diminished in the millenia since. Here are five reasons why agriculture remains an important, even necessary, part in society today.
Raw Materials – There are very few materials today that do not come from an agricultural root one way or another. Most of our clothing, food, and medicine all stem from something that has been produced and harvested. Even fuels and plastics have their root in agriculture.
Economy – At the base of almost every single country’s economy is their agriculture and the imports they receive or exports they produce. Sugar, tea, spices, tobacco, coffee and chocolate have all been at the heart of the rise of nations, while a booming national agriculture means more power a country has on the world stage.
Employment – While farming and ranching might not have as large an employment figure as in the past, there are still a significant number of agriculture jobs world-wide. The rise of ag-adjacent industries, such as pharmaceuticals and transportation, also provide a large amount of jobs for many nations.
Innovation – It might surprise you, but a lot of innovation throughout history has been done on the back of agriculture. Many technologies have been developed to help in the transport of crops and livestock, while gene manipulation saw its birth in agriculture as scientists sought to increase crop productivity and reduce environmental waste. Agribusiness is now one of the largest and most thriving industries in the world of today.
Environmental Protection – An increased push towards sustainability has led to a rise in many environmental protections. Agriculture itself is directly tied to a sustainable, lifelong stewardship of the world around us and is one of the best ways in which humans and nature can co-exist.
In the end, agriculture is one of the most important facets of society, both in our history and today. A reliable source of income, employment, innovation and the basis for many nation’s economies, agriculture has expanded beyond its humble roots. No longer limited to cultivation, farming or livestock raising, agriculture now affects almost every aspect of our daily lives.
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