What is the Agriculture Industry?

Margo Upson

The agriculture industry involves anything that is grown or raised for human use. This includes produce, livestock, flowers, lumber and harvesting plants to sell. The agricultural industry is one of the oldest in the world, dating back thousands of years.

Beef and dairy cattle are both raised under the agricultural industry.
Beef and dairy cattle are both raised under the agricultural industry.

Farmers aren't the only participants in the agriculture industry, although they are the most well known. Also included are areas that contribute to agriculture, such as biotechnology firms and veterinarians. Florists and nurseries, both of which grow plants to sell, either as plants or as flowers in bouquets, are also a part of the agricultural industry. Wineries may also be considered a part of the agriculture business.

Some crops must be collected manually, and so may be more expensive than those that can be harvested mechanically.
Some crops must be collected manually, and so may be more expensive than those that can be harvested mechanically.

The first time that humans traded one agricultural good, such as a pile of corn, for another product marked the beginning of the agriculture industry. The start of civilization, as opposed to previous nomadic ways, happened with the start of agriculture. Instead of having to hunt and gather food, early humans learned to grow their own food. Before long, communities were beginning to form and people could trade their surplus food for what they were missing. The agriculture industry was already proving to be profitable.

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There are a many large scale farming operations.
There are a many large scale farming operations.

Most of what is produced in the agriculture industry is considered to be in the primary sector, meaning that the original product is straight from nature, and hasn't been changed or processed in any way. Some agricultural products that are processed, such as trees being turned into finished lumber, are considered to be a part of the secondary sector.

Raising livestock is a function of the agriculture industry.
Raising livestock is a function of the agriculture industry.

The agriculture industry has seen a lot of changes in the past 100 years. Agriculturalists can now grow more crops in a smaller amount of space. Although this has made farming cheaper, there have been questions about the ethics involved in raising livestock in tight spaces. Biotechnology has also changed agriculture, by improving soil fertilization, developing larger and hardier crops, and improving the nutrients in harvested food.

A farmer uses a tractor to till a field.
A farmer uses a tractor to till a field.

Agribusiness is used to describe any company that operates within the agriculture industry. This includes not only farms, but the companies that build, sell, and repair the farm equipment, the inspectors that make sure the farm is up to code, and entire milk industry, from the drive that picks up the fresh milk through the driver that delivers the processed milk to the grocery stores, for example. When the agricultural industry is looked at in terms of agribusiness, it is possible to see just how widespread agriculture is, even in modern times.

Cut flowers, such as roses, are a product of the agriculture industry.
Cut flowers, such as roses, are a product of the agriculture industry.
Animal inspector positions are great agriculture jobs for individuals who love working with animals.
Animal inspector positions are great agriculture jobs for individuals who love working with animals.

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