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What Is Crop Farming?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Crop farming is the cultivation of plants for food, animal foodstuffs, or other commercial uses. A variety of techniques including organic production methods can be used to manage crops. People may enter this career through a family business, by training on a farm with experienced farmers, or by attending college to get a degree in agriculture or a related subject. It can involve long hours and harsh working conditions, along with unpredictable profits from year to year, which can be stressful for farmers.

The types of crops grown can depend on environmental conditions, market demands, and preference. Some crops have a limited growth range dependent on temperatures, available water supply, pests, and other factors. Others may be cultivated in a wider range of conditions. Crop farmers test the soil and assess their land to determine what kinds of products they can grow, and narrow down that list to determine what would be commercially viable. If the market demand for cotton is high, for example, it might be a profitable crop to plant.

Plants grown for food, like rice, wheat, and vegetables, are one form of crop farming. It is also possible to cultivate plants such as alfalfa that will be used to feed animals. Some farms have a combination of crops and animals, using the crops they grow to feed their livestock.

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Other crops may be grown as sources of fuel, fiber, dyes, and other commercial products. Experimental farming using new cultivars or crops that haven’t been grown successfully on a commercial scale is another form of crop farming. People may be paid by a university or research facility to cultivate these crops and report back.

Agriculture can be highly unpredictable. Unexpected weather events may impact the yield in a given year, and the market for crops can also shift in response to a variety of economic factors. People using crop farming as a primary source of income attempt to balance their crops in order to generate some profits each year, and may also need to take advantage of loans and grants in poor years. Insurance policies are available to protect people from losses like crops damaged by heavy weather.

Some crops may be considered important for national security and stability because it’s important to have a domestic source. Governments may subsidize crop farming and use other incentives to encourage farmers to stay productive. This can secure the food supply, increasing the chance that enough food will be available for everyone, and it can reduce reliance on imports.

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Sporkasia
Post 3

If you're like me then you do not think of the United States as a big producer of rice, and this is true. The U.S. produces a very small percentage of the rice produced worldwide. However, the U.S. is one of the top exporters of rice i the world.

mobilian33
Post 2

Farming is truly a big business, not like it was a few decades back when there were too many small farmers to count in most communities. In the United States, crops like soybeans and corn have replaced what we think of as garden crops on many farms.

Most farmers choose crops like corn and grains because they can earn more money meeting the demand for these crops than they can growing produce and vegetables that people will eat at the dinner table. Corn and soybeans are in large part used in animal feed and in the manufacturing of other foods.

Drentel
Post 1

When I was growing up, farmers in my community were at the mercy of Mother Nature. I can remember farmers bragging on how well their crops were looking at some point during the growing because they were getting the perfect weather patterns.

Then, more often than not, at some point the rain would stop and for a couple weeks or more the weather would be so dry and hot that the crops would start to dry out in the fields. Of course, there were also years when there would be too much rain and the crops would suffer from water damage. Either way, Mother Nature was in control.

Today, most farms have some type of irrigation system. This gives farmers a much better chance of making a profit on their crops. Though there is still no guarantee.

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