What is a farm? A farm is a place where crops are grown and animals reared on a large scale.

Cattle, one of the many types of livestock kept on farms.

A farm is a place where crops are grown and animals are reared. Farms are probably the most important places in the world, for without them we would not have enough food to keep alive.

Farms were invented in the Stone Age. Before this time, people wandered about eating wild plants or catching fish and hunting animals. But as the number of people in the world grew, so it was found that the wilderness simply did not produce enough food to carry on this way. It was especially difficult in winter.

What early people did was to use natural grasses and keep back the biggest seed and plant it in cleared ground. They then harvested the grass and ground the seed for flour. They also kept back the seed from the strongest plants and planted that the next year. Over the centuries, the amount of seed produced by these plants grew and the new plants were called wheat, or barley and so on. It is called breeding by selecting.

They did the same with wild animals, gradually selecting animals that grew up with more meat on them, or which gave more milk and so on. In the case of animals they also bred those which were easiest to tame.

The early farms grew some cereals and kept some animals. Many small farmers around the world still do this. They are called mixed farms.

More recently very large farms have been made by buying up many small farms and farming them as one huge farm. This has meant that more effort can be put into doing just one kind of farming, which is why we have cereal farms, dairy farms, beef farms and so on.

Many of us do not now know much about how to farm the land, which is a pity because we all depend on it.

Farming year - Spreading manure.
Farming year - Ploughing.
Farming year - Harrowing.
Farming year - Drilling seed.
Farming year - Ridging.
Farming year - Harvesting.
Farming year - Baling.

Pigs in an outside pen on a smallholding.
Donkeys, ponies and horses kept on a smallholding.
Outdoor-reared ducks on a smallholding.
Outdoor-reared geese on a smallholding.
Guinea-pigs on a smallholding.

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