What is Agriculture?

What is Agriculture? Maybe you said agriculture is farming.

You thought of planting and harvesting crops or raising livestock and poultry. Maybe you said it was milking cows or selling fruits and vegetables. It's all this and more! Agriculture is the industry that grows, harvests, and brings us food, fuel, fiber/fabric, forestry and flowers.


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Farmers grow plants and raise animals that we eat every day. These fruits, veggies, grains and meats nourish our bodies and allow us to grow and move. Farmers also grow food that feeds animals. Minnesota farmers grow corn, soybeans, oats, alfalfa and many other crops that are fed to animals like cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys around the world.

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Fiber is the raw material from plants and animals that we use to make cloth, rope, and many kinds of fabric. Cotton, linen, silk, wool, sisal and hemp are all fibers that are grown and turned into fabric.

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Forests produce timber from trees that become lumber, furniture, and firewood. They also produce pulp for paper, and hundreds of other things, including oils and medicines.

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Fuel is another product that comes from agriculture. Soybeans are grown in Minnesota and processed into biodiesel. Corn also can be converted into ethanol, which is used to fuel our cars.

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Flowers, landscaping materials and grass or turf are grown and used for beauty, pleasure, and recreation.

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In addition to providing food and raw material, agriculture plays a critical role in the economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agriculture is our nation's largest industry, and provides employment opportunities to more than 20 million Americans.

They have jobs in:

Production growing and harvesting plants; raising animals

Processing changing raw materials into many different things

Promotion - marketing and advertising the product to create a demand and increase sales

Distribution getting the products to us

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