The Farm And Farming
Junior High Division
Farming is one of man's oldest and most important activities.Thousands of years ago, a man learned how to use plants and animals to supplyhimself with food, clothing, and shelter. Year after year, farmers workwith the soil, sunlight and water to raise crops and livestock. Throughthe different seasons, farmers plow the ground, sow seeds, and harvest crops.Farmers must fight floods, dry periods, and diseases that can kill crops,and animals and insects that can damage their harvest. Today, just as inthe early days, the farmers crops and livestock provide many necessitiesof life for people everywhere.
In all parts of the world, millions of people live andshare the work on farms. For many families, farming is a well-paying business.They sell their crops and livestock for money, just as other businessessell their products. Some farms even cover hundreds or thousands of acres.The huge farms may produce tons of food every year. Some plantations producevast crops of coffee, fruit, or sugar. Many large ranches raise some cattleand sheep, but for countless people, farming is a hard way of life. Thesefarmers often raise a little more food than they need for their families.
In the United States and Canada, farmers and ranchers producea surplus of food. They use scientific farming methods, powerful tractors,and special machinery. But, in many countries, farmers still work by handand have little help from animals. These farmers don't know how to use thescientific ways of raising crops and livestock. Where modern machinery andmethods are lacking, food shortages occur.
In the United States, fewer than seven of every one hundredpersons live on farms. Fewer than ten of every one hundred persons of Canadalive on farms. In much of the world, over half the people are farmers.
A typical farm in the midwestern U.S. covers about threehundred acres of fertile prairie land. This is an area equal to about onehundred twenty-five square blocks. The farm buildings are usually at thecorner of the farm, near a road. Near the house are the barn and silo, cattleshed, feeding area, garage, machine shed, corn cribs, and the chicken house.The farmer raises several kinds of animals for the market. These may includeabout forty beef cattle, fifty hogs, fifty sheep and two hundred fifty chickens.
A farm is a busy place throughout the year. The farmerand his family must do many small chores every day. The farmer's wife usuallycares for the chickens and takes care of the eggs, washing, candling, andtaking them to market.
Spreading livestock manure on the fields as fertilizeris an important chore during the fall, winter, and spring. In the spring,it is time to plant alfalfa, corn, oats, and other major farm crops. Tokeep up with so much planting, the farmer might have to work nights as wellas days. He fastens floodlights to the tractor to light up the fields atnight. In the spring, the farm family helps the lambs and pigs get a goodstart.
In summer, it is time to start growing corn, oats, andwheat. After the corn has sprouted, the soil between the rows of plantsmust be broken with the cultivator. The corn must also be sprayed from timeto time with chemicals that kill harmful insects. The ripe oats and wheatare cut and threshed, and the grain is stored in feed bins. Alfalfa is cutand then allowed to dry in the sun. The dried alfalfa is used for hay tofeed the livestock.
Fall is the time for harvesting corn and marketing thecattle. The children return to school, but help with the harvest after schoolhours. The farmer ships the cattle to market. He also buys young steersto raise during the next year. The small grain crops are either sold atthe elevators nearby or stored in the granaries. After planting the winterwhet, the farmer carefully cleans his machinery and stores his machineryin a shed to keep it from the weather.
The snow covers the farm most of the winter. Winter isa time for the farmer to relax and enjoy some free time, however, usuallythere are meetings to attend and he must work on his books which containthe farm accounts. Winter is also the time to hitch the pony to the sleighand the family enjoys an old fashioned sleigh ride. The farmer now ordershis supplies for the next year, and waits for spring, so his farming operationcan begin again.
The World Book Encyclopedia
The World Book Encyclopedia