Agriculture is the organized and structured growth and harvesting of plants for various purposes. Agriculture has several main components or characteristics:

  • specialization of agricultural land for specific crops or purposes
  • responsible marketing and sales of agricultural harvests
  • preservation of the land

Agriculture is an important part of every state. It is the primary method whereby fruits and vegetables are provided to feed people and animals. In the modern world, agriculture is a global endeavor, with crops from one state going to many different states, bordering states, and states that are halfway across the world. Agriculture is a vital part of the global economy and has important benefits for society. Strong agricultural sectors in a state can lead to a high level of health and standard of living in that state. Other benefits of agriculture to society include:

  • Facilitation of cultural diversity as different cultures use unique dishes and crops
  • Supply of employment opportunities to individuals who are out of work
  • Supplies basic raw goods for building and creation materials

In the global and modernizing world, agriculture faces a myriad of problems, both natural and synthetic. The two most common problems are loss of agricultural land and decreased varieties of crops. As the amount of available agricultural land decreases, the quantity of food available to consumers reduces. This harms not only the economy but also the level of health in the population. Decreased varieties of crops result in a reduction in the ability of crops to withstand natural disasters and issues. Additionally, certain types of crops have benefits that are only available within them. As they grow extinct, their benefits are no longer available to consumers.

Loss of Agricultural Land

Loss of agricultural land can occur through the actual loss of land or the loss of certain agricultural-friendly qualities and characteristics within a geographic region. In measuring land, the terms hectare and acre are often used. An acre is exactly 4,840 square yards. A hectare is 2.47 acres, 10,000 square meters, or 11,960 square yards.

Some of the reasons for the loss of agricultural land include:

  • Erosion: Wind and water are the leading causes of erosion. As these forces come into contact with land, small particles or even large rocks or areas can be weathered down and removed from the land. Over the course of hundreds and thousands of years, the area of the land will be reduced. In terms of agriculture priorities, erosion poses another threat: reduction in minerals. Topsoil, the layer that holds the most mineral-rich soil, is also the loosest layer. As eroding forces engage with the topsoil, it can potentially be removed from agricultural land, and the crops planted there in the future will suffer.
  • Factories: Factories are industrial structures designed to facilitate the creation of products. One of the most frequent byproducts of these creations is pollution in various forms. As chemicals seep from the factory installations to the agricultural land owned by farmers, the crops will be affected by these pollutants. Their growth will be stunted. If consumers eat the crops, they could have health problems. Thus, even if crops grow they could not be fit for sale.
  • Highways: Highways have similar effects to factories. Not only do they reduce the available land for agriculture by building massive roads through unpopulated land, the automobiles driving on these roads produce air pollution that can seep into the crops.

Examples of Challenges in Agriculture Land

Examples of erosion affecting the availability of agricultural land include:

  • In the 1930s, wind, overplanting, and other manmade factors resulted in the Dust Bowl, a massive series of dust storms that plagued the Midwest.
  • Throughout the United States, the soil is being eroded at a rate ten times faster than is acceptable for the maintenance of necessary agricultural land. In the entire world, erosion is happening at an increasing rate. In sixty years, it is possible that all topsoils will be gone.
  • Factories being built on or near agricultural land can seep chemicals into the land that will prevent the productive growth of crops. Highways also have chemical pollutants, through the gasoline that comes from automobiles, that can pollute agricultural land. Around $100 million in damages are incurred in the state of California every year as a result of the airborne pollution from factories, highways, and other sources. Highway maintenance procedures also make use of pesticides, which can seep into nearby farmland.

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