Wiki Regional Farm Types

Intensive Subsistence

  • Occupies largest land area of all agricultural activities.
  • 25% of world's land area, only 5% of people (low populations).
  • Land usually not owned individually.
  • Amount of land (dedicated to shifting agriculture) is declining. Replaced by logging, ranching, cash crops ? development and encroachment of urban areas.
  • The amount of land used for shifting cultivation and the firest are often linked to the destruction of rainforests, global warming.
  • Most prevalent in low-latitude, humid climates. High temperature, abundant rainfall.
Land is cleared by slashing and burning debris. Creating a "swidden", "lading", "milpa", etc. Work done by hand, only fertilizer = potash. "Slash-and-burn" agriculture. Land is tended for only a few (approx. 3) years at a time. Loses fertility quickly due to leaching etc. Types of crops grown vary regionally

Pastoral Nomadism

  • Herding of domesticated animals. Animals are seldom eaten.
  • Obtain grain from sedentary farmers in exchange for animal.
  • Products or from small fixed plots tended by women.
  • Size of the herd indicates power and prestige.
  • Type of animal depends on the region. Camels = N. Africa/SW Asia, Cattle = Kenya, Yaks = Himalayas, etc.
  • Arid/semiarid climates = "marginal" lands (extensive)
  • Areas: North Africa, SW Asia, Central Asia, Western China, Mongolia.
Movement is NOT random = strong territoriality. "Nomadism" is really is misnomer. Migration patterns evolve from knowledge of the land.
Transhumance practiced by some pastoralists. Seasonal shift between low and high altitude grazing. Now in decline. No longer needed as carriers of goods/info. Governments want land for other uses.

Intensive Subsistence

  • Areas with high population (esp. in E, S and SE Asia) high agricultural densities.
  • Many farmers, small plots (fragmented), little mechanization.
  • To maximize production, little land is wasted, single path roads, little animal grazing.
Two types (depends on climate)
Intensive with wet rice dominant. Rice = most important source of food in Asia. Several step process involving planting seedlings in a flooded field. -"sawah", "paddy." Need FLAT land ? terracing hillsides. Sometimes double-cropping (2 harvests (rice/dry grain) per year if warm winters).
Intensive with wet rice not dominant. Drier, harsher winters. Grains- wheat, barley, millet, corn, soybeans, etc. Use crop rotation to avoid exhausting soil.

Mixed Crop and Livestock


  • N. America between Appalachians and w. of Mississippi.
  • Iowa = center of the "Corn Belt"
  • Europe between France and Russia
  • Japan?
  • Transvaal ("Boers" = farmers in Dutch)
Integration of crops and livestock. Most land = devoted to crops (1) corn (2) soybeans. But used to feed livestock, livestock provide fertilizer. Most profits = derive from sale of livestock allows distribution of work throughout year. Seasonal variations in income. Crop rotation used (different crops use different nutrients or replenish, NO fields left fallow)

Grain Crops

  • Most time is for animal feed (in MDCs). When it is for human consumption rather than animal feed.
  • In LDCs, crop is directly consumed and this goes with subsistence wet rice not dominant. So not this type of farm.
  • MDCs = crop sold to food product manufacturers
  • Wheat is world's leading export crop
  • Half of exports from US/Canada = "world's breadbasket"
  • ? flour ? bread
  • Easily stored/transported

The largest commercial producer of grains = the U.S. Winter-wheat belt = KS, CO, OK = survives milder winter. Spring-wheat belt = Dakotas, Montana, Saskatchewan. Other areas include the Pampas (SE South America in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil), Ukraine, Russia steppe, Australia.
Description: Areas too dry for mixed crop and livestock. Heavily mechanized (reaper, combine), large farms. Workload not uniform, may spilt between farms in two different belts.

LiveStock Ranching

  • Done over an extensive area
  • In MDCs, it is practiced on land where vegetation is too sparse or land too poor for vegetation
  • First brought to the US by Columbus
  • Spaniards and Portuguese taught it to the US citizens
  • Expanded due to the demand for beef on the east coast back in the 1860s
  • At that time, slaughtered in Chicago
  • Trains made access to distant markets possible
  • cattle trails were from grazing areas to the nearest rail line to ship them to market
  • US government made land private and farmers and cattlemen fought over land in the 1800s
  • Today cattle companies lease land form the US for grazing (60%)

Modern Times
  • Previously used longhorn cattle which were susceptible to disease and the meat was not as good as today
  • They switched to Hereford cattle which required fixed location
  • These cattle could not survive long trail trips but their meat was better and they were less prone to getting diseasesli>
  • Slaughterhouses are now closer to the grazing areas (also cheap labor and land out there as opposed to Chicago)
  • Today it is more corporate in terms of ownership
  • Today cattle are fattened before slaughter and do not go out to graze as much


Area: Along Mediterranean coast, California, Chile, South Africa and SW Australia. Think wine countries
Description: Requires a particular climate and terrain. Prevailing sea winds provide limited moisture, moderate winter temperatures, summers are hot and dry with some relief from sea breezes. Terrain is often hilly, very narrow bands of flat land along a coast. Small % of revenue from animal products

  • Mostly products for human consumption
  • In MDCs like America it is like Commercial Gardening (large scale, canned and preserved, and commercial
  • Horticulture: the growing of fruits, vegetables and flowers
  • Mediterranean = Olives (cooking oil), grapes (wine), etc.
  • Often much of the land devoted to growing wheat for pasta (not typically a part of the description for this type of farm)
  • California = citrus fruits, tree nuts, deciduous fruits
  • Competition for prime agricultural land from cities
  • Dry lands require massive irrigation - problem in California

Commercial Gardening - Truck Farms

Area: Predominant in SE USA

  • Long growing season
  • Access to large markets of east coast.
  • Fresh produce for groceries, farmer's markets.
  • Products for consumers in MDCs.
  • Examples: Apples, asparagus, cherries, lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes.
  • Some fresh - Most canned.
  • Large-scale mechanized operations.
  • Reduce labor costs by hiring migrant farm (undocumented) workers.
  • Specialty farming spread to NE as alternative to dairying.
  • Supplies wealthy customers with specialty products.