Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities; the history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, technological developments have increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage.
Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, antibiotic resistance, growth hormones in industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are used, although some are banned in certain countries; the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Food classes include cereals, fruits, meat, milk and eggs. Over one-third of the world's workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased over the centuries; the word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "field", which in its turn came from Greek αγρός, cultūra, "cultivation" or "growing". While agriculture refers to human activities, certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle cultivate crops. Agriculture is defined with varying scopes, in its broadest sense using natural resources to "produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops, their related services".
Thus defined, it includes arable farming, animal husbandry and forestry, but horticulture and forestry are in practice excluded. The development of agriculture enabled the human population to grow many times larger than could be sustained by hunting and gathering. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa, in at least 11 separate centres of origin. Wild grains were eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Rice was domesticated in China between 11,500 and 6,200 BC with the earliest known cultivation from 5,700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 years ago. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan some 10,500 years ago. Pig production emerged in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago.
In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, was independently domesticated in Eurasia. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was bred into maize by 6,000 years ago. Scholars have offered multiple hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an initial period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Wild stands, harvested started to be planted, came to be domesticated. In Eurasia, the Sumerians started to live in villages from about 8,000 BC, relying on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and a canal system for irrigation. Ploughs appear in pictographs around 3,000 BC. Farmers grew wheat, vegetables such as lentils and onions, fruits including dates and figs.
Ancient Egyptian agriculture relied on its seasonal flooding. Farming started in the predynastic period at the end of the Paleolithic, after 10,000 BC. Staple food crops were grains such as wheat and barley, alongside industrial crops such as flax and papyrus. In India, wheat and jujube were domesticated by 9,000 BC, soon followed by sheep and goats. Cattle and goats were domesticated in Mehrgarh culture by 8,000–6,000 BC. Cotton was cultivated by the 5th-4th millennium BC. Archeological evidence indicates an animal-drawn plough from 2,500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilisation. In China, from the 5th century BC there was a nationwide granary system and widespread silk farming. Water-powered grain mills were in use followed by irrigation. By the late 2nd century, heavy ploughs had been developed with iron mouldboards; these spread westwards across Eurasia. Asian rice was domesticated 8,200–13,500 years ago – depending on the molecular clock estimate, used – on the Pearl River in southern China with a single genetic origin from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon
Intensive farming involves various types of agriculture with higher levels of input and output per cubic unit of agricultural land area. It is characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs such as capital and labour, higher crop yields per cubic unit land area; this contrasts with traditional agriculture. The term "intensive" involves various meanings, some of which refer to organic farming methods, others that refer to nonorganic and industrial methods. Intensive animal farming involves either large numbers of animals raised on limited land concentrated animal feeding operations referred to as factory farms, or managed intensive rotational grazing, which has both organic and non-organic types. Both increase the yields of fiber per acre as compared to traditional animal husbandry. In CAFO, feed is brought to the seldom-moved animals, while in MIRG the animals are moved to fresh forage. Most commercial agriculture is intensive in one or more ways. Forms that rely on industrial methods are called industrial agriculture, characterised by innovations designed to increase yield.
Techniques include planting multiple crops per year, reducing the frequency of fallow years, improving cultivars. It involves increased use of fertilizers, plant growth regulators, pesticides and mechanised agriculture, controlled by increased and more detailed analysis of growing conditions, including weather, water and pests; this system is supported by ongoing innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale and data collection and analysis technology. Intensive farms are widespread in developed nations and prevalent worldwide. Most of the meat, eggs and vegetables available in supermarkets are produced by such farms. Smaller intensive farms include higher inputs of labor and more use sustainable intensive methods; the farming practices found on such farms are referred to as appropriate technology. These farms are less widespread in both developed countries and worldwide, but are growing more rapidly. Most of the food available in specialty markets such as farmers markets is produced by these small holder farms.
Agricultural development in Britain between the 16th century and the mid-19th century saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn supported unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant percentage of the workforce, thereby helped enable the Industrial Revolution. Historians cited enclosure, four-field crop rotation, selective breeding as the most important innovations. Industrial agriculture arose along with the Industrial Revolution. By the early 19th century, agricultural techniques, seed stocks, cultivars had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the Middle Ages; the industrialization phase involved a continuing process of mechanization. Horse-drawn machinery such as the McCormick reaper revolutionized harvesting, while inventions such as the cotton gin reduced the cost of processing. During this same period, farmers began to use steam-powered threshers and tractors, although they were expensive and dangerous. In 1892, the first gasoline-powered tractor was developed, in 1923, the International Harvester Farmall tractor became the first all-purpose tractor, marking an inflection point in the replacement of draft animals with machines.
Mechanical harvesters, planters and other equipment were developed, further revolutionizing agriculture. These inventions increased yields and allowed individual farmers to manage large farms; the identification of nitrogen and potassium as critical factors in plant growth led to the manufacture of synthetic fertilizers, further increasing crop yields. In 1909, the Haber-Bosch method to synthesize ammonium nitrate was first demonstrated. NPK fertilizers stimulated the first concerns about industrial agriculture, due to concerns that they came with serious side effects such as soil compaction, soil erosion, declines in overall soil fertility, along with health concerns about toxic chemicals entering the food supply; the identification of carbon as a critical factor in plant growth and soil health in the form of humus, led to so-called sustainable agriculture, as well as alternative forms of intensive agriculture that surpassed traditional agriculture, without side effects or health issues. Farmers adopting this approach were referred to as humus farmers as organic farmers.
The discovery of vitamins and their role in nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which in the 1920s allowed some livestock to be raised indoors, reducing their exposure to adverse natural elements. Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides. Following World War II, synthetic fertilizer use increased while sustainable intensive farming advanced much more slowly. Most of the resources in developed nations went to improving industrial intensive farming, little went to improving organic farming, thus in the developed nations, industrial intensive farming grew to become the dominant form of agriculture. The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in confined animal feeding operations by reducing diseases caused by crowding. Developments in logistics and refrigeration as well as processing technology made long-distance distribution feasible. Between 1700 and 1980, "the total area of
Aquaculture known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish, molluscs, aquatic plants and other organisms. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, can be contrasted with commercial fishing, the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in underwater habitats. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, aquaculture "is understood to mean the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs and aquatic plants. Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, protection from predators, etc. Farming implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated." The reported output from global aquaculture operations in 2014 supplied over one half of the fish and shellfish, directly consumed by humans. Further, in current aquaculture practice, products from several pounds of wild fish are used to produce one pound of a piscivorous fish like salmon.
Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, mariculture and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, both of which integrate fish farming and aquatic plant farming; the indigenous Gunditjmara people in Victoria, may have raised eels as early as 6000 BC. Evidence indicates they developed about 100 km2 of volcanic floodplains in the vicinity of Lake Condah into a complex of channels and dams, used woven traps to capture eels, preserve them to eat all year round. Aquaculture was operating in China circa 2000 BC; when the waters subsided after river floods, some fish carp, were trapped in lakes. Early aquaculturists fed their brood using nymphs and silkworm feces, ate them. A fortunate genetic mutation of carp led to the emergence of goldfish during the Tang dynasty. However, ancient Egyptians might have farmed fish from Lake Bardawil about 3,500 years ago, they traded them with Canaan.
Gim cultivation is the oldest aquaculture in Korea. Early cultivation methods used bamboo or oak sticks, which were replaced by newer methods that utilized nets in the 19th century. Floating rafts have been used for mass production since the 1920s. Japanese cultivated seaweed by providing bamboo poles and nets and oyster shells to serve as anchoring surfaces for spores. Romans bred fish in ponds and farmed oysters in coastal lagoons before 100 CE. In central Europe, early Christian monasteries adopted Roman aquacultural practices. Aquaculture spread in Europe during the Middle Ages since away from the seacoasts and the big rivers, fish had to be salted so they did not rot. Improvements in transportation during the 19th century made fresh fish available and inexpensive in inland areas, making aquaculture less popular; the 15th-century fishponds of the Trebon Basin in the Czech Republic are maintained as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hawaiians constructed oceanic fish ponds. A remarkable example is the "Menehune" fishpond dating from at least 1,000 years ago, at Alekoko.
Legend says. In the first half of the 18th century, German Stephan Ludwig Jacobi experimented with external fertilization of brown trouts and salmon, he wrote an article "Von der künstlichen Erzeugung der Forellen und Lachse". By the latter decades of the 18th century, oyster farming had begun in estuaries along the Atlantic Coast of North America; the word aquaculture appeared in an 1855 newspaper article in reference to the harvesting of ice. It appeared in descriptions of the terrestrial agricultural practise of subirrigation in the late 19th century before becoming associated with the cultivation of aquatic plant and animal species. In 1859, Stephen Ainsworth of West Bloomfield, New York, began experiments with brook trout. By 1864, Seth Green had established a commercial fish-hatching operation at Caledonia Springs, near Rochester, New York. By 1866, with the involvement of Dr. W. W. Fletcher of Concord, artificial fish hatcheries were under way in both Canada and the United States; when the Dildo Island fish hatchery opened in Newfoundland in 1889, it was the largest and most advanced in the world.
The word aquaculture was used in descriptions of the hatcheries experiments with cod and lobster in 1890. By the 1920s, the American Fish Culture Company of Carolina, Rhode Island, founded in the 1870s was one of the leading producers of trout. During the 1940s, they had perfected the method of manipulating the day and night cycle of fish so that they could be artificially spawned year around. Californians harvested wild kelp and attempted to manage supply around 1900 labeling it a wartime resource. Harvest stagnation in wild fisheries and overexploitation of popular marine species, combined with a growing demand for high-quality protein, encouraged aquaculturists to domesticate other marine species. At the outset of modern aquaculture, many were optimistic that a "Blue Revolution" could take place in aquaculture, just as the Green Revolution of the 20th century had revolutionized agriculture. Although land animals had long been domesticated, most seafood species were still caught from the wild.
Concerned about the impact of growing demand for seafood on the world's oceans, prominent ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau wrote in 1973: "With earth's burgeoning human populations to feed, we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology."About 430 of the species cultu
Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the Neolithic revolution when animals were first domesticated, from around 13,000 BC onwards, antedating farming of the first crops. By the time of early civilisations such as ancient Egypt, sheep and pigs were being raised on farms. Major changes took place in the Columbian Exchange when Old World livestock were brought to the New World, in the British Agricultural Revolution of the 18th century, when livestock breeds like the Dishley Longhorn cattle and Lincoln Longwool sheep were improved by agriculturalists such as Robert Bakewell to yield more meat and wool. A wide range of other species such as horse, water buffalo, llama and guinea pig are used as livestock in some parts of the world. Insect farming, as well as aquaculture of fish and crustaceans, is widespread.
Modern animal husbandry relies on production systems adapted to the type of land available. Subsistence farming is being superseded by intensive animal farming in the more developed parts of the world, where for example beef cattle are kept in high density feedlots, thousands of chickens may be raised in broiler houses or batteries. On poorer soil such as in uplands, animals are kept more extensively, may be allowed to roam foraging for themselves. Most livestock are herbivores, except for chickens which are omnivores. Ruminants like cattle and sheep are adapted to feed on grass. Pigs and poultry cannot digest the cellulose in forage, require cereals and other high-energy foods; the domestication of livestock was driven by the need to have food on hand when hunting was unproductive. The desirable characteristics of a domestic animal are that it should be useful to man, should be able to thrive in his company, should breed and be easy to tend. Domestication was not a single event. Sheep and goats were the animals that accompanied the nomads in the Middle East, while cattle and pigs were associated with more settled communities.
The first wild animal to be domesticated was the dog. Half-wild dogs starting with young individuals, may have been tolerated as scavengers and killers of vermin, being pack hunters, were predisposed to become part of the human pack and join in the hunt. Prey animals, goats and cattle, were progressively domesticated early in the history of agriculture. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 13,000 BC, sheep followed, some time between 11,000 and 9,000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8,500 BC. A cow was a great advantage to a villager as she produced more milk than her calf needed, her strength could be put to use as a working animal, pulling a plough to increase production of crops, drawing a sledge, a cart, to bring the produce home from the field. Draught animals were first used about 4,000 BC in the Middle East, increasing agricultural production immeasurably. In southern Asia, the elephant was domesticated by 6,000 BC.
Fossilised chicken bones dated to 5040 BC have been found in northeastern China, far from where their wild ancestors lived in the jungles of tropical Asia, but archaeologists believe that the original purpose of domestication was for the sport of cockfighting. Meanwhile, in South America, the llama and the alpaca had been domesticated before 3,000 BC, as beasts of burden and for their wool. Neither was strong enough to pull a plough which limited the development of agriculture in the New World. Horses occur on the steppes of Central Asia, their domestication, around 3,000 BC in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea region, was as a source of meat. Around the same time, the wild ass was being tamed in Egypt. Camels were domesticated soon after this, with the Bactrian camel in Mongolia and the Arabian camel becoming beasts of burden. By 1000 BC, caravans of Arabian camels were linking India with the Mediterranean. In ancient Egypt, cattle were the most important livestock, sheep and pigs were kept; the Nile provided a plentiful source of fish.
Honey bees were domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, providing both wax. In ancient Rome, all the livestock known in ancient Egypt were available. In addition, rabbits were domesticated for food by the first century BC. To help flush them out from their underground burrows, the polecat was domesticated as the ferret, its use described by Pliny the Elder. In northern Europe, agriculture including animal husbandry went into decline when the Roman empire collapsed; some aspects such as the herding of animals continued throughout the period. By the 11th century, the economy had recovered and the countryside was again productive; the Domesday Book recorded every parcel of land and every animal in Britain: "there was not one single hide, nor a yard of land, moreover... not an ox, nor a cow, nor a swine was there left, not set down in writ." For example, the royal manor of Earley in Berkshire, one of thousands of villages recorded in the book, had in 1086 "2 fisheries worth 7s and 6d and 20 acres of meadow.
Woodland for 70 pigs." Exploration and colonisat
Slash-and-burn agriculture called fire-fallow cultivation, is a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest or woodland to create a field called a swidden. The method begins by cutting down the trees and woody plants in an area; the downed vegetation, or "slash", is left to dry right before the rainiest part of the year. The biomass is burned, resulting in a nutrient-rich layer of ash which makes the soil fertile, as well as temporarily eliminating weed and pest species. After about three to five years, the plot's productivity decreases due to depletion of nutrients along with weed and pest invasion, causing the farmers to abandon the field and move over to a new area; the time it takes for a swidden to recover depends on the location and can be as little as five years to more than twenty years, after which the plot can be slashed and burned again, repeating the cycle. In India, the practice is known as jhoom. Slash-and-burn can be part of shifting cultivation, an agricultural system in which farmers move from one cultivable area to another.
It may be part of transhumance, the moving of livestock between seasons. A rough estimate is. In 2004, it was estimated that in Brazil alone, 500,000 small farmers each cleared an average of one hectare of forest per year; the technique is not sustainable for large human populations. Methods such as Inga alley cropping and slash-and-char have been proposed as alternatives which would cause less environmental degradation. A similar term is assarting, the clearing of forests for the purpose of agriculture. Assarting does not include burning. Slash-and-burn cultivation has been practiced throughout much of the world, in grasslands as well as woodlands. During the Neolithic Revolution, which included agricultural advancements, groups of hunter-gatherers domesticated various plants and animals, permitting them to settle down and practice agriculture, which provides more nutrition per hectare than hunting and gathering; this happened in the river valleys of Mesopotamia. Due to this decrease in food from hunting, as human populations increased, agriculture became more important.
Some groups could plant their crops in open fields along river valleys, but others had forests blocking their farming land. In this context, humans used slash-and-burn agriculture to clear more land to make it suitable for plants and animals. Thus, since Neolithic times, slash-and-burn techniques have been used for converting forests into crop fields and pasture. Fire was used before the Neolithic as well, by hunter-gatherers up to present times. Clearings created by the fire were made for many reasons, such as to draw game animals and to promote certain kinds of edible plants such as berries. Slash-and-burn fields are used and owned by a family until the soil is exhausted. At this point the ownership rights are abandoned, the family clears a new field, trees and shrubs are permitted to grow on the former field. After a few decades, another family or clan may use the land and claim usufructuary rights. In such a system there is no market in farmland, so land is not bought or sold on the open market and land rights are traditional.
In slash-and-burn agriculture, forests are cut months before a dry season. The "slash" is permitted to dry and burned in the following dry season; the resulting ash fertilizes the soil and the burned field is planted at the beginning of the next rainy season with crops such as upland rice, cassava, or other staples. Most of this work is done by hand, using such basic tools such as machetes, axes and makeshift shovels; the old American civilizations, like the Inca and Aztecs used this old agricultural technique. Large families or clans wandering in the lush woodlands long continued to be the most common form of society through human prehistory. Axes to fell trees and sickles for harvesting grain were the only tools people might bring with them. All other tools were made from materials they found at the site, such as fire stakes of birch, long rods, harrows made of spruce tops; the extended family conquered the lush virgin forest and cultivated their selected swidden plots, sowed one or more crops, proceeded on to forests, noted in their wanderings.
In the temperate zone, the forest regenerated in the course of a lifetime. So swidden was repeated several times in the same area over the years, but in the tropics the forest floor depleted. It was not only in the moors, as in Northern Europe, but in the steppe, prairie and barren desert in tropical areas where shifting cultivation is the oldest type of farming. Cultivation is similar to slash-and-burn.. Southern European Mediterranean climates have favored evergreen and deciduous forests. With slash-and-burn agriculture, this type of forest was less able to regenerate than those north of the Alps. Although in northern Europe one crop was harvested before grass was allowed to grow, in southern Europe it was more common to exhaust the soil by farming it for several years. Classical authors mentioned large forests, with Homer writing about "wooded Samothrace," Zakynthos and other woodlands; these authors indicated. Although parts of Europe aside from the north remained wooded, by the Roman Iron and early Viking Ages, forests were drastically reduced and settlements moved.
The reasons for this pattern of mobility, the transition to stable
Pig farming is the raising and breeding of domestic pigs as livestock, is a branch of animal husbandry. Pigs are sometimes skinned. Pigs are amenable to many different styles of farming: intensive commercial units, commercial free range enterprises, or extensive farming. Farm pigs were kept in small numbers and were associated with the residence of the owner, or in the same village or town, they were valued as a source of meat and fat, for their ability to convert inedible food into meat, were fed household food waste when kept on a homestead. Pigs have been farmed to dispose of municipal garbage on a large scale. All these forms of pig farm are in use today. In developed nations, commercial farms house thousands of pigs in climate-controlled buildings. Pigs are a popular form of livestock, with more than one billion pigs butchered each year worldwide, 100 million of them in the USA; the majority of pigs are used for human food but supply skin and other materials for use as clothing, ingredients for processed foods and medical use.
The activities on a pig farm depend on the husbandry style of the farmer, range from little intervention to intensive systems where the pigs are contained in a building for the majority of their lives. Each pig farm will tend to adapt to the local conditions and food supplies and fit their practices to their specific situation; the following factors can influence the type of pig farms in any given region: Available food supply suitable for pigs The ability to deal with manure or other outputs from the pig operation Local beliefs or traditions, including religion The breed or type of pig available to the farm Local diseases or conditions that affect pig growth or fecundity Local requirements, including government zoning and/or land use laws Local and global market conditions and demand Almost all of the pig can be used as food. Preparations of pig parts into specialties include: sausage, gammon, skin into pork scratchings, feet into trotters, head into a meat jelly called head cheese, consumption of the liver and blood.
This is technically, the case for all other mammals, although the demand is not there. Pigs are farmed in many countries, though the main consuming countries are in Asia, meaning there is a significant international and intercontinental trade in live and slaughtered pigs. Despite having the world's largest herd, China is a net importer of pigs, has been increasing its imports during its economic development; the largest exporters of pigs are the United States, the European Union, Canada. As an example, more than half of Canadian production in 2008 was exported. Older pigs will consume eleven to nineteen litres of water per day; the way in which a stockperson interacts with pigs affects animal welfare which in some circumstances can correlate with production measures. Many routine interactions can cause fear. There are various methods of handling pigs which can be separated into those which lead to positive or negative reactions by the animals; these reactions are based on. Many negative interactions with pigs arise from stock-people dealing with large numbers of pigs.
Because of this, many handlers can become complacent about animal welfare and fail to ensure positive interactions with pigs. Negative interactions include overly-heavy tactile interactions, the use of electric goads and fast movements, it can include killing them. However, it is not a held view that death is a negative interaction; these interactions can result in fear in the animals. Overly-heavy tactile interactions can cause increased basal cortisol levels. Negative interactions that cause fear mean the escape reactions of the pigs can be vigorous, thereby risking injury to both stock and handlers. Stress can result in immunosuppression. Studies have shown that these negative handling techniques result in an overall reduction in growth rates of pigs. Various interactions can be considered either neutral. Neutral interactions are considered positive because, in conjunction with positive interactions, they contribute to an overall non-negative relationship between a stock-person and the stock.
Pigs are fearful of fast movements. When entering a pen, it is good practice for a stock-person to enter with slow and deliberate movements; these therefore reduce stress. Pigs are curious animals. Allowing the pigs to approach and smell whilst patting or resting a hand on the pig's back are examples of positive behavior. Pigs respond positively to verbal interaction. Minimizing fear of humans allow handlers to perform husbandry practices in a safer and more efficient manner. By reducing stress, stock are made more comfortable to feed when near handlers, resulting in increased productivity. In other words, pigs are social and intelligent animals, if they are treated well, better meat can be obtained. Prohand for pigs is a training program that teaches handlers to interact with pigs in a way that promotes safe handling, it promotes elimination of negative behaviors. This program has been seen to improve produ
A ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most applies to livestock-raising operations in Mexico, the Western United States and Western Canada, though there are ranches in other areas. People who own or operate a ranch are called cattlemen, or stockgrowers. Ranching is a method used to raise less common livestock such as elk, American bison or ostrich and alpaca. Ranches consist of large areas, but may be of nearly any size. In the western United States, many ranches are a combination of owned land supplemented by grazing leases on land under the control of the federal Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service. If the ranch includes arable or irrigated land, the ranch may engage in a limited amount of farming, raising crops for feeding the animals, such as hay and feed grains. Ranches that cater to tourists are called guest ranches or, colloquially, "dude ranches."
Most working ranches do not cater to guests, though they may allow private hunters or outfitters onto their property to hunt native wildlife. However, in recent years, a few struggling smaller operations have added some dude ranch features, such as horseback rides, cattle drives or guided hunting, in an attempt to bring in additional income. Ranching is part of the iconography of the "Wild West" as seen in Western rodeos; the person who owns and manages the operation of a ranch is called a rancher, but the terms cattleman, stockgrower, or stockman are sometimes used. If this individual in charge of overall management is an employee of the actual owner, the term foreman or ranch foreman is used. A rancher who raises young stock sometimes is called a cow-calf operator or a cow-calf man; this person is the owner, though in some cases where there is absentee ownership, it is the ranch manager or ranch foreman. The people who are employees of the rancher and involved in handling livestock are called a number of terms, including cowhand, ranch hand, cowboy.
People involved with handling horses are sometimes called wranglers. Ranching and the cowboy tradition originated in Spain, out of the necessity to handle large herds of grazing animals on dry land from horseback. During the Reconquista, members of the Spanish nobility and various military orders received large land grants that the Kingdom of Castile had conquered from the Moors; these landowners were to defend the lands put into their control and could use them for earning revenue. In the process it was found that open-range breeding of sheep and cattle was the most suitable use for vast tracts in the parts of Spain now known as Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia; when the Conquistadors came to the Americas in the 16th century, followed by settlers, they brought their cattle and cattle-raising techniques with them. Huge land grants by the Spanish government, part of the hacienda system, allowed large numbers of animals to roam over vast areas. A number of different traditions developed related to the original location in Spain from which a settlement originated.
For example, many of the traditions of the Jalisco charros in central Mexico come from the Salamanca charros of Castile. The vaquero tradition of Northern Mexico was more organic, developed to adapt to the characteristics of the region from Spanish sources by cultural interaction between the Spanish elites and the native and mestizo peoples; as settlers from the United States moved west, they brought cattle breeds developed on the east coast and in Europe along with them, adapted their management to the drier lands of the west by borrowing key elements of the Spanish vaquero culture. However, there were cattle on the eastern seaboard. Deep Hollow Ranch, 110 miles east of New York City in Montauk, New York, claims to be the first ranch in the United States, having continuously operated since 1658; the ranch makes the somewhat debatable claim of having the oldest cattle operation in what today is the United States, though cattle had been run in the area since European settlers purchased land from the Indian people of the area in 1643.
Although there were substantial numbers of cattle on Long Island, as well as the need to herd them to and from common grazing lands on a seasonal basis, the cattle handlers lived in houses built on the pasture grounds, cattle were ear-marked for identification, rather than being branded. The only actual "cattle drives" held on Long Island consisted of one drive in 1776, when the island's cattle were moved in a failed attempt to prevent them from being captured by the British during the American Revolution, three or four drives in the late 1930s, when area cattle were herded down Montauk Highway to pasture ground near Deep Hollow Ranch; the prairie and desert lands of what today is Mexico and the western United States were well-suited to "open range" grazing. For example, American bison had been a mainstay of the diet for the Native Americans in the Great Plains for centuries. Cattle and other livestock were turned loose in the spring after their young were born and allowed to roam with little supervision and no fences rounded up in the fall, with the mature animals driven to market and the breeding stock brought close to the ranch headquarters for greater protection in the winter.
The use of livestock branding allowed the cattle owned by different ranchers to be identified and sorted. Beginning with the settlement of Texas in the 1840s, expansion both north and west from that time, through the Civil War and into the 1880s, ranching dominated wes