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Technological Transformations in Farming

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Technological Transformations in Farming
Midterm Exam Paper

Technological Transformations in Farming
Technological advances and discoveries in the field of agriculture and farming were and continue to be such a vital factor in providing for food and produce for the ever so growing population worldwide. One advertisement in 1921 best sum of the result of progress in farming which claimed “that buying a tractor allows a farmer to keep his son in school, instead of taking him out to help with the farm work” (What is Progress, 1995) In this paper, I will be discussing some very important technological inventions and discoveries that helped to shape the future of farming today.
The Neolithic Revolution, also known as the Agriculture Revolution, was a very important period in farming and agriculture because it was the very start of it. It was in this time period that people discovered that when you put seeds into the ground, it produced food. This discovery resulted in Nomads developing permanent settlements. They also learned to domesticate animals for food sources and slash and burn farming, which was the burning of forests in order to use its ashes for fertilizer for their crops during this period. (Global History and AP World Review in 12 Minutes, 2012) Now let’s look at the early civilizations in the Mesopotamia area. People here started settling by the water, after discovering that it was more suitable for farming and trade. They also discovered here that the soil was much higher in minerals, which was more favorable for crop growth. (Global History and AP World Review in 12 Minutes, 2012) This important discovery not only provided important water sources for farming, but means and ways to import and export farming supplies and the crops. When it came to Southernization, there were a few technological advances that stood out for me. In China, they began systematic terracing and were able to grow the rice crops on hills and mountain sides by inventing techniques to control the water on the slopes. This was a big deal. With China’s population growing steadily, they could utilize more land that was once useless for farming, and produce more rice which was a staple food there. Another advance that was important was the introduction of new southern crops. These crops preferred the heat of the summer months to grow, therefore leading the farmers to cultivate their fields all year long. Usually during the summer months, the farmers existing crops would not survive the summer months. But with these new crops, they were able to utilize their land all year long and produce more food to provide for their families and the community. Lastly, there was the system of multiple cropping, which maximized the growing potential in a particular area. This led to increased soil fertility and a manual was developed that advised farmers to add animal manure and vegetable mineral materials to the soil in order to increase productivity.
Then we have a very important technological invention, by Phidias Archimedes, the Archimedes Screw. This invention was a machine that consisting of a hollow spiral tube that was run by turning a handle at one end. When the lower end of the tube was placed into a water source and the handle was turned, water was carried up the tube and out. This machine was originally invented to empty rainwater from the hull of ships. But was also found very useful in irrigation for farmlands. In fact, this invention is still used today in farming in developing countries.
Agriculture productivity went “from 12 to 8 hour days – from 6 days a week to 5” (What is Progress, 1995). What led to this? Early technology such as the cotton gin revolutionized the cotton industry by inventing a machine that automated the separation of cottonseed from the cotton fiber. The reaper, which was a horse drawn machine used to harvest wheat. And there was the steel plow, which helped to plow the soil faster. And many more inventions that helped to speed up productivity of the farming industry and make it to what it is today.
Technological transformations for farmers simply made their jobs easier and more productive. With the advances throughout time the farmers were able to produce more food in a faster amount of time, with less manpower and less grueling man hours. It was of course necessary and vital to the industry in order to keep up with the changing world and the increasing populations. Agriculture advancements still occur today, with hydroponics and GM crops.
McCarthy, John (1995). Journal Article. What is Progress. Stanford University. (2012). Video. Global History and AP World Review in 12 Minutes
Shaffer, L (1994). Journal Article. Southernization. Journal of World History, Vol 5 No.1.
Archimedes of Syracuse.
Willner, M, Weiner, J, Hero, G, Briggs, B (Global History: The Industrial Revolution to the Age of Globalization, Volume 2

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