Farm facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Barn-southern-ontario
A barn in southern Ontario
Cow milking machine in action DSC04132
A milking machine in action

A farm is a piece of land used to grow crops and/or raise animals.

People who grow these plants or raise these animals are called farmers. This type of work is called farming.

Land that is used to grow plants for food, or could be used to grow plants for food is called arable land. A life raising animals for food is called a pastoral life.

Many farms are very large and in some places farms are many and small. There are many types of farming. Some people farm to eat the food they produce (subsistence agriculture). Other farms, including large ones, sell their products to many people far away in urban areas (industrial farming). Most subsistence farms are in poorer countries, while industrial farms are in richer countries.

History

Centres of origin and spread of agriculture
Map of the world showing approximate centers of origin of agriculture and its spread in prehistory: the Fertile Crescent (11,000 BP), the Yangtze and Yellow River basins (9,000 BP), and the New Guinea Highlands (9,000–6,000 BP), Central Mexico (5,000–4,000 BP), Northern South America (5,000–4,000 BP), sub-Saharan Africa (5,000–4,000 BP, exact location unknown), eastern North America (4,000–3,000 BP).

Farming has been innovated at multiple different points and places in human history. The transition from hunter-gatherer to settled, agricultural societies is called the Neolithic Revolution and first began around 12,000 years ago, near the beginning of the geological epoch of the Holocene around 12,000 years ago. It was the world's first historically verifiable revolution in agriculture. Subsequent step-changes in human farming practices were provoked by the British Agricultural Revolution in the 18th century, and the Green Revolution of the second half of the 20th century. Farming spread from the Middle East to Europe and by 4,000 BC people that lived in the central part of Europe were using oxen to pull plows and wagons.

Names of Farms

Tea plantation in India02
A tea plantation in India
  • A farm that produces fruits or nuts is called an orchard.
  • A farm that produces grapes is called a vineyard.
  • A farm that raises and trains horses is called a stable.
  • A farm that produces milk and dairy products is called a dairy farm.
  • If the animals are raised for meat it is a ranch.
  • A large farm that produces non-essential crops like tobacco, coffee, cotton or sugarcane is called a plantation.

Farms around the world

Americas

Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania
Farming near Klingerstown, Pennsylvania
Ontario farm
A typical North American grain farm with farmstead in Ontario, Canada

The land and buildings of a farm are called the "farmstead". Enterprises where livestock are raised on rangeland are called ranches. Where livestock are raised in confinement on feed produced elsewhere, the term feedlot is usually used.

In 1910 there were 6,406,000 farms and 10,174,000 family workers; In 2000 there were only 2,172,000 farms and 2,062,300 family workers. The share of U.S. farms operated by women has risen steadily over recent decades, from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent by 2007.

In the United States, there are over three million migrant and seasonal farmworkers; 72% are foreign-born, 78% are male, they have an average age of 36 and average education of 8 years. Farmworkers make an average hourly rate of $9–10 per hour, compared to an average of over $18 per hour for nonfarm labor. Their average family income is under $20,000 and 23% live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level. One-half of all farmworker families earn less than $10,000 per year, which is significantly below the 2005 U.S. poverty level of $19,874 for a family of four.

In 2007, corn acres are expected to increase by 15% because of the high demand for ethanol, both in and outside of the U.S. Producers are expecting to plant 90.5 million acres (366,000 km²) of corn, making it the largest corn crop since 1944.

Asia

Chinafarmland
Farmlands in Hebei province, China

Pakistan

According to the World Bank, "most empirical evidence indicates that land productivity on large farms in Pakistan is lower than that of small farms, holding other factors constant." Small farmers have "higher net returns per hectare" than large farms, according to farm household income data.

Nepal

Jamnapari goat
Goat found in Nepal

Nepal is an agricultural country and about 80% of the total population are engaged in farming. Rice is mainly produced in Nepal along with fruits like apples. Dairy farming and poultry farming are also growing in Nepal.

Australia

Cows in green field - nullamunjie olive grove03
Cows grazing on a farm in Victoria, Australia

Farming is a significant economic sector in Australia. A farm is an area of land used for primary production which will include buildings.

According to the UN, "green agriculture directs a greater share of total farming input expenditures towards the purchase of locally sourced inputs (e.g. labour and organic fertilisers) and a local multiplier effect is expected to kick in. Overall, green farming practices tend to require more labour inputs than conventional farming (e.g. from comparable levels to as much as 30 per cent more) (FAO 2007 and European Commission 2010), creating jobs in rural areas and a higher return on labour inputs."

Where most of the income is from some other employment, and the farm is really an expanded residence, the term hobby farm is common. This will allow sufficient size for recreational use but be very unlikely to produce sufficient income to be self-sustaining. Hobby farms are commonly around 2 hectares (4.9 acres) but may be much larger depending upon land prices (which vary regionally).

Often very small farms used for intensive primary production are referred to by the specialization they are being used for, such as a dairy rather than a dairy farm, a piggery, a market garden, etc. This also applies to feedlots, which are specifically developed to a single purpose and are often not able to be used for more general purpose (mixed) farming practices.

In remote areas farms can become quite large. As with estates in England, there is no defined size or method of operation at which a large farm becomes a station.

Europe

Rieten dak old farmhouse
Traditional Dutch farmhouse

In the UK, farm as an agricultural unit, always denotes the area of pasture and other fields together with its farmhouse, farmyard and outbuildings. Large farms, or groups of farms under the same ownership, may be called an estate. Conversely, a small farm surrounding the owner's dwelling is called a smallholding and is generally focused on self-sufficiency with only the surplus being sold.

Related pages


Farm Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.