Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.
Related to farming: Organic farming, Poultry farming


in agriculture: see agricultureagriculture,
science and practice of producing crops and livestock from the natural resources of the earth. The primary aim of agriculture is to cause the land to produce more abundantly and at the same time to protect it from deterioration and misuse.
..... Click the link for more information.


in the history of taxationtaxation,
system used by governments to obtain money from people and organizations. The revenue collected is used by the government to support itself and to provide public services.
..... Click the link for more information.
, collection of taxes through private contractors. Usually, the tax farmer paid a lump sum to the public treasury; the difference between that sum and the sum actually collected represented his profit or loss. Although tax farming is no longer practiced, it was common in the cities of ancient Greece and in republican Rome, where the collection of direct taxes was farmed out to publicans; in the Roman Empire only indirect taxes were farmed. In the past, tax farming was practiced in most countries of Europe and Asia. In England the system was tried briefly but played no important part. It was most fully applied in France after 1681, when Jean Baptiste Colbert founded the general farms as an agency of royal administration. The collection of certain indirect taxes was leased by the king to the company of farmers general, a chartered body of 40 financiers (at one time they numbered 60) that guaranteed a fixed sum of revenue in advance. Popular hatred soon developed against the huge profits and extortionist practices of the farmers general, whose organization was abolished (1791) in the French Revolution; some 30 former members of the farm—Antoine Lavoisier among them—were guillotined in the Reign of Terror.


See G. T. Matthews, The Royal General Farms in Eighteenth-Century France (1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) One of the most important branches of agriculture; the cultivation of plants for food, industry, and feed for livestock. (2) A branch of agronomy that studies general methods of cultivation of agricultural plants develops methods of making the most efficient use of land and increasing soil fertility in order to obtain high and stable yields.

As a branch of production Farming was identified with agri-culture, the term “farming” was taken to include the plant-growing branches of agriculture connected with soil cultivation—field cropping, vegetable growing, fruit growing, viticulture, floriculture, and so forth. In the planning and statistical accounting of agriculture in the USSR, farming also includes meadow management, a branch that produces hay and pasture grass through the proper usage and improvement of natural grassland and the creation of sown meadows.

The economic significance of farming is exceptionally great. It provides the population with produce, livestock raising with forage, and many branches of industry—food, mixed-feed, textile, pharmaceutical, perfume, and so forth—with raw material. The successful development of agriculture is largely dependent on the proper combination of farming with livestock raising. A stable fodder supply cannot be created without farming. Livestock raising makes the most productive use of agricultural production and its wastes (straw, chaff, root crops); in turn, it supplies farming with valuable organic fertilizer, manure, with which a substantial part of the ash elements and nitrogen removed by the plants is returned to the soil. The proper combination of farming with livestock raising ensures a controlled biological cycle of the ash elements of plant food and nitrogen (soil → plant → postprocessing plant waste → soil → plant).

Main characteristics Unlike other branches of the economy, farming combines the economic and the natural processes of reproduction. Land (or soil) and plants are fundamental means of production and at the same time objects of labor. Soil possesses the most important property of fertility, that is, the capacity to supply cultivated plants steadily with water, elements of ash nutrition, and bound nitrogen. A distinction is made between natural (potential) and economic (effective) soil fertility. Natural soil fertility is created as a result of the long process of soil formation; it is characterized by the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the soil in close relation to local climate conditions. Economic soil fertility is created by man in the course of development of the productive forces of society. The most important task of farming is to convert natural soil fertility into economic fertility by using a variety of agrotechnical, meliorative, organizational, and economic measures, that is, by putting into effect a rational system of farming.

Green plants are capable of making use of soil fertility (that is, extracting water, ash nutrients, and nitrogen from the soil), assimilating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trapping and transforming the kinetic energy of the sun, and, finally, transforming inorganic matter into organic, that is, creating proteins, starch, sugars, fats, and other substances that constitute a variety of plant products. The diversity of natural conditions on the earth makes it necessary to use specific means of raising cultivated plants, to differentiate agricultural techniques in accordance with the soil, climatic, and weather conditions prevailing in each region, farm, and even field and with the biological characteristics of crop species and varieties. Hence, it is much more difficult in farming than in other branches of the national economy to introduce highly productive machinery and technology and to improve the organization of production. Land area is limited, but this does not mean that there is a limit to its productivity, since productivity can be boosted by the rational use, restoration, and progressive enhancement of soil fertility.

Farming is markedly seasonal because of the uneven distribution of solar energy at different times of the year and because of the biology of the plants cultivated and the need to observe the agrotechnical periods of agricultural work as determined by local soil and climatic conditions. The divergence between the period of production and the working period is the most pronounced. For example, whereas the winter-grains growing season lasts approximately 300 days, the period of cultivation of these crops is no more than 60-100 days. This divergence accounts for the comparatively high requirement of farming for diverse agricultural machines, implements, and sources of energy.

Forms and types A distinction is made between the extensive and intensive types of farming. With extensive farming, production can be increased by enlarging the land area; with the intensive form, the same is accomplished by new, additional investments of labor and funds in the same area (mechanization, land improvement, addition of mineral fertilizers, advancement of agricultural technique, and so forth). Based on the so-called law of diminishing soil fertility, bourgeois economists try to show that additional investments of labor and means of production in the land results in diminishing returns. This is supposedly one of the reasons for the impoverishment of the laboring masses. Marxism-Leninism has demonstrated the untenability of this “law.” With developing agricultural techniques, intensification of farming increases the yield from each hectare with the lowest expenditures of labor and capital.

Various types of farming are practiced, according to natural conditions. For example, in the temperate zone there is stable farming in regions with adequate moisture and irri-gated farming in arid regions. In the damp tropics and sub-tropics, there is a year-round farming, with two or three har-vests a year.

The following types of farming have developed in the USSR: stable, dry (unstable), irrigated, bogara (dry), polar, and mountain. Stable farming is concentrated in the forest and forest-steppe zones and in the fairly moist regions of the Northern Caucausus, Western Ukraine, and Far East. Favorable soil and climatic conditions are conducive to the cultivation of a variety of food, industrial, feed, and other crops without the use of artificial irrigation (used only when growing vegetables, fruits, and berries). The minor fluctuations in yields from year to year are caused mainly by the nature of the seasonal distribution of the precipitation. On podzolic soils, farming technology is directed mainly at improving the physical properties of the soils, enriching them with the elements of plant nutrition by deepening the arable layer, liming, and adding fertilizers.

Dry (unstable) farming is characteristic of regions with in-sufficient atmospheric moisture and unstable weather conditions (steppe zone of the USSR). Yields fluctuate greatly as a result. Dry farming is based on growing drought-resistant crops and varieties and using agricultural techniques that promote the accumulation and retention of moisture in the soil (bare fallows, snow retention, moldboardless cultivation in some regions, compressed periods of sowing, row planting, and so forth).

Irrigated farming is practiced in desert and semidesert regions with insignificant precipitation and excess heat, which cause intensive evaporation of moisture and overheating of the soil and air. Crops cannot be grown in many desert regions without artificial irrigation. Irrigated farming is highly intensive in terms of crops composition, yields, and total productivity per unit of plowed area. The structure of the plantings is narrowly specialized, with saturation plantings of the staple crop, for example, cotton or rice.

Bogara farming is the cultivation mostly of grain (partly forage and industrial) crops on nonirrigated lands in irrigated farming regions. It is common in the Soviet republics of Middle Asia and Transcaucasia, where it is secondary to irrigated farming. It is mostly the agrotechnical practices of dry farming that are used on bogara.

Polar farming is the cultivation of crops in the tundra zone. It did not begin to develop in the USSR until after the Great October Socialist Revolution. Sheltered ground is the main factor in polar farming. On open ground, it is particularly important to create a cultivated soil, to enrich it with humus, improve it with chemicals, and apply mineral fertilizers scientifically. The selection of quick-ripening varieties and agrotechnical methods that hasten ripening is very important.

Mountain farming is confined to mountain uplands with undeveloped and more or less rocky soils of comparatively high natural fertility and lying on gentle slopes and intermontane basins. Mountain farming uses agricultural techniques that aim most importantly at preventing or reducing water erosion. The farmers plow across the slopes and sow perennial grasses (arranged in buffer strips). Of decisive importance are the selection of crops and varieties well adapted to mountain conditions and the use of agricultural techniques that take into account the exposure of the slopes, temperature inversions, insolation, and other natural conditions. Ter-racing is used on mountain slopes.

History Farming began in the middle of the Stone Age (in the Mesolithic). Man began to cultivate the soil with the simplest of tools, wooden or wooden with stone tips. Survivals of this primitive farming are found in various parts of the world, with the exception of Australia. Hoe farming required the use of human muscular power. Plow farming arose later, when the production of metal tools was already known and live tractive power, based on developed livestock raising, was being used. Plow farming was widespread in Asia, Europe, and North Africa in slave-owning, and later in feudal, societies.

Particular systems of farming can be noted in the development of farming in every country, reflecting the intensity of use of the land, the methods of restoring and increasing soil fertility, and the level of development of the farming. These systems are modified by the continuing development of the productive forces of society. A slave-owning society is characterized by a grass-fallow and cut-and-burn system of farming; a fallow system is typical of feudalism. The capitalist method of production converted farming from an empirical occupation, passed on by inheritance, into aa enterprise that makes deliberate use of agronomy to the maximum extent permitted by private land ownership. The demand for agricultural production increased as a result of the growing requirements of the urban population and expanding industry. The areas planted with potatoes and industrial and forage crops began to be enlarged. The variety of plants cultivated also increased. Improved grain and crop-rotation systems appeared that were based on scientific discoveries in biology and chemistry. The subordination of agri-cultural production to capitalist market conditions limited the use of crop rotation and, in some cases, promoted the spread of unrestricted farming and a one-crop system. Agricultural technology progressed. Attempts were made in the middle of the 19th century to use the steam engine to power the multiple plow. Tractors came into use early in the 20th century, and various kinds of towed and, later, tractor-mounted machines and tools were developed. Farming machinery in the capitalist countries has reached a high degree of perfection. But alongside this machinery, which is used mainly on large farms in the highly developed capitalist countries, primitive agricultural implements still prevail, especially on small peasant farms in underdeveloped and colonial coun-tries. As the chemical industry grew, the production of mineral fertilizers and means of chemical control of pests, diseases, and weeds expanded. Crop productivity in the developed capitalist countries attained a high level.

Farming in the USSR Farming in prerevolutionary Russia was a small-peasant, technically backward, and unproductive enterprise. Peasant farms embraced 215 million hectares (ha) of agricultural land (including kulak farms, covering over 80 million ha), while the landlords, members of the tsar’s family, and monasteries owned 152 million ha. The work was all done manually or with the help of animal traction. On the peasant farms the average power (of all kinds) available per worker came to 0.5 horsepower; 20 horsepower was available per 100 ha of sown area. The farmers used homemade wooden plows, wooden harrows, bast baskets for hand sowing, and flails to thresh grain. Seeders and other agricultural machines were found only on landlords’ and kulaks’ farms. Between 1909 and 1913 the average yield of grain crops in Russia was no higher than six or seven centners per ha; that is, between two and three times less than the yield in the developed countries of Western Europe. An average of 455 kg of grain per capita was produced in Russia, compared to 1,063 in the United States, 1,454 (1913) in Argentina, and 1,967 in Canada (1913). Tsarist Russia exported a great deal of grain (from 1909 to 1913, an average of 665 million poods [1 pood = 16.38 kg] a year, or 26.1 percent of the world export), but only at the expense of the undernourishment of the peasant population. In years of crop failures millions of peasants starved.

The Great October Socialist Revolution radically changed the situation in agriculture. According to the Decree on Land, the peasants received additional agricultural land amounting to more than 150 million ha. As of Nov. 1, 1970, there were 606.8 million ha of agricultural land in the USSR, including 224.4 million ha of plowland (36.8 percent). Implementation of Lenin’s Cooperative Plan resulted in the creation of the world’s largest and most highly mechanized socialist agricultural production—kolkhozes and sovkhozes. In 1970 each kolkhoz had, on the average, 6,100 ha of agricultural land and 60 tractors (in terms of 15-horsepower tractors); each sovkhoz had, on the average, 20,800 and 123, respectively. The total power supply for socialist agriculture was 14.1 times greater in 1970 than in the prerevolutionary period, and the power available per worker, 22.4 times greater. The relative share of engines in the total energy balance rose from 0.8 to 99.1 percent. The principal types of field work on the kolkhozes and sovkhozes (plowing, sowing of grains, cotton and sugar beets, harvesting of grains and silage crops) are almost completely mechanized. Potato planting, interrow hoeing of sugar beets, cotton, and corn, and combine harvesting of corn for grain will soon be completely mechanized. Labor productivity in Soviet agriculture in 1970 was 5.3 times higher than in 1913, and hourly productivity was more than 6 times higher.

In addition to the mechanization of production, the efficiency of agriculture has increased. Agricultural techniques have improved and greater use is made of mineral fertilizers. Land improvement measures are becoming more widespread and the area given to high-grade crops is being increased. As a result of the systematic implementation of the program for the chemicalization of agriculture, the use of mineral fertilizers (in conventional units) rose from 1.6 kg/ha (1913) to 207.1 kg/ha of plowland (1970), or 129 times. Whereas the drainage network in 1913 covered 3.2 million ha, 10.2 million ha were irrigated in 1970, including 3.5 million with closed drainage. From 1913 to 1970 the area of irrigated land increased by a factor of 2.8 (from 4 million to 11.1 million ha). This led to substantial progress in cotton, rice, and sugar-beet growing, vegetable and fruit raising, and viticulture. In 1970, kolkhozes and sovkhozes planted high-quality grain varieties over 95 percent of the total available area (including winter wheat, 99 percent; spring wheat, 97 percent, winter rye, 97 percent; corn for grain, 99.9 percent; sugar beets, 100 per-cent, sunflower, 99.4 percent, and fiber flax, 99.8 percent).

The structure of the sown areas changed. Whereas in 1913 grains occupied 88.5 percent of the sown area, in 1970 they occupied 55.7 percent. The relative share of industrial and forage crops increased (from 4.1 to 7 percent and from 2.8 to 30.4 percent, respectively).

Soviet farming has been extended far into the north. Wheat is grown as far as 60° N lat. Corn for grain and silage is now being grown in the central regions of the European part of the Soviet Union; rice, in the Northern Caucausus and the Ukraine; and sugar beets, in Byelorussia, the Baltic republics, the Volga Region, the Northern Caucasus, and the Altai. Valuable new crops have been introduced in kolkhoz and sovkhoz production: southern hemp, fine-fibered cotton, ambari, castor-oil plant, safflower, peanuts, soybeans, tea, and many essential-oil and other useful agricultural plants.

The sown areas of all crops rose from 118.2 million ha in 1913 to 206.7 million ha in 1970, or more than 75 percent (see Table 1). There was a large increase in sown area between

Table 1. Area under crops in the USSR (millions of ha)
Total area under
cultivation ..................118.2113.0150.6146.3203.0206.7
Grain crops ...................104.692.2110.7102.9115.6119.3
Industrial crops.............4.98.611.812.213.114.5
cotton .........................0.690.972.082.322.192.74
sugar beet
(industrial) .................0.680.771.231.313.043.37
fiber flax.....................1.251.362.101.901.621.28
melons .....................5.17.710.010.511.210.1
potatoes .....................
Fodder crops ................3.33.918.120.763.162.8
annual and
perennial grasses.....

1953 and 1963 because of the massive development of virgin and long-fallow lands in the eastern regions and in the south-east European part of the USSR.

There were singularly large increases in the planting of industrial crops (almost threefold), potatoes, vegetables, and melons (twofold), and forage crops (nineteenfold). The dynamics of the growth of productivity and total yields is shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Total crop yields in the USSR (millions of tons)
Type of production
and crops
Grain ....................................86.073.395.681.2125.5186.8
Raw cotton ..........................0.740.792.243.544.296.89
Sugar beet (industrial) .......11.310.118.020.857.778.3
Potato ..................................31.946.476.188.684.496.8

The greatest advances in productivity and total yields of the main agricultural products were made between 1966 and 1970 as a result of the implementation of the decisions of the Twenty-third Party Congress and the March Plenum (1965) of the Central Committee of the CPSU (see Tables 3 and 4).

Table 3. Yielding capacity of crops by five-year plans (yearly average) (centners per ha)
Grain .........................................
Sugar beet (industrial)..............184165228
Cotton (raw) .............................20.520.624.1
Vegetables ...............................101116132
Table 4. Total yields of main farming products by five-year plans (yearly average) (millions of tons)
Sugar beet (industrial) ............45.659.281.0
Raw cotton...............................4.364.996.1
Potato .......................................88.381.694.8
Vegetables ...............................15.116.919.3

In 1971 the average grain yield was 15.3 centners per ha and the total yield, 181 million tons.

The distribution and specialization of farming in the USSR developed in relation to the soil, climatic, and economic characteristics of the various regions. The structure of the sown areas in 1970 (for all categories of farms) gives some idea of the distribution and specialization of farming by Union republics and large economic regions (see Table 5).

Grain production is concentrated mainly in the Volga Economic Region (15.3 percent), the Northern Caucasian Region (11.1 percent), and the Kazakhstan Region (11.1 per-cent). Total cotton yields are highest in the Middle Asian Region (93.6 percent). Total sugar beet yields are highest in the Southwestern (38.5 percent), Central Chernozem (15.5 percent), and Donetsk-Dnieper (16.8 percent) regions. Pota-toes are harvested mostly in the Southwestern (14.9 percent), Central (15.6 percent), and Byelorussian (13.7 percent) economic regions. Vegetable production is concentrated around industrial centers, for example, in the Donetsk-Dnieper (11.2 percent), Central (10.5 percent), and Southwestern (10.5 percent) economic regions.

Table 5. Structure of areas under crops in 1970 (as a percent of the total area under cultivation)
Union republics and
economic regions
USSR .............................................
RSFSR ...........................................
Central .......................................
Central Chernozem ..................51.712.34.531.5
Volga .........................................
Northern Caucasus ..................53.910.12.233.8
Ural ............................................
Western Siberia ........................
Eastern Siberia .........................
Far East .....................................42.331.46.220.1
Ukrainian SSR..............................47.312.07.932.8
Byelorussian SSR ........................
Uzbek SSR....................................32.750.63.513.2
Kazakh SSR..................................
Georgian SSR ..............................
Azerbaijan SSR ............................
Lithuanian SSR ............................
Moldavian SSR.............................45.320.75.728.3
Latvian SSR ..................................
Kirghiz SSR ..................................
Tadzhik SSR .................................41.934.83.619.7
Armenian SSR..............................
Turkmen SSR ...............................13.363.05.518.2
Estonian SSR ...............................42.70.410.846.1

The main objectives of farming are defined by the Program of the CPSU, which calls for radical steps to be taken to increase the caliber of farming. Particular importance is attached to the proper distribution of the branches of farming by natural and economic zones, to more considered and more stable specialization, to intensification (by introducing scientifically sound cultivation practices), to the total mechanization and chemicalization of agriculture, to land improvement, and to protection of the soil against wind and water erosion. The Communist Party is steadily carrying out the designated program for increasing farming, periodically defining the im-mediate tasks more concretely at Party Congresses and ple-nary sessions of the Central Committee of the CPSU. The tasks for 1971-75 were formulated in the resolution of the July Plenum (1970) of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in the decisions of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU. The Directives of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU on the Five-Year Plan for the Economic Development of the USSR from 1971 to 1975 in farming set as the goal the boosting of yields everywhere by increasing soil fertility, introducing advanced techniques, efficiently using mineral and organic fertilizers, extensively reclaiming lands, carrying out measures to control erosion, improving seed production, introducing the highest-yield varieties and hybrids, taking steps to protect plants against diseases, pests, and weeds, eliminating losses of harvests, improving the structure of the sown areas, and using correct crop rotations. Between 1971 and 1975 the productivity of grain crops should be” boosted throughout the country as a whole by at least 4 centners per ha and the average annual grain output raised to at least 195 million tons. Total cotton, sugar beet, sunflower, and potato yields should also be increased.

Farm production should be substantially increased by rapidly increasing the supply of materials and machinery and providing new equipment. Almost 129 billion rubles of state and kolkhoz capital investments, as well as the necessary materials and machinery, have been allocated for the needs of agriculture between 1971 and 1975. In 1975 agriculture will be supplied with 72 million tons of high-quality mineral fertilizers.

Enormous economic significance is attached to land improvement. In 1971-75, 3 million ha of new irrigated lands will be brought into production. Land reclamation systems will be built in excessively wet regions, to cover an area of 5 million ha. Some 41.2 million ha of hay meadows and pastures will be irrigated. Work on protective forestation and the control of soil erosion will be stepped up. The rates of mechanization and electrification of agriculture will be accelerated. In 1971-75 agriculture will be supplied with 1,700,000 tractors, 1,100,000 trucks, 541,000 grain combines, and many other agricultural and meliorative machines.

The Directives of the Twenty-Fourth Congress of the CPSU emphasized the necessity for care in dealing with land resources and the responsibility of land users for carrying out erosion-control and meliorative measures in complete accor-dance with the Principles of Land Legislation of the USSR and Union Republics (1968) and the land codes of the Union republics.

World farming In 1969, 4,425 million ha of agricultural land were farmed throughout the world; of these, 1,424 million ha (32 percent) were occupied by plowlands and perennial plantings. The developed capitalist countries had 1,140 million ha of agricultural land (39 percent plowland); the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 2,343 million ha (30 percent plowland); and the socialist countries, 942 million ha (40 percent plowland). The relative share of plow-lands in certain countries is as follows (in percent): India, 92; Hungary, 81; Poland, 76; Czechoslovakia, 75; East Germany, 73; Rumania, 71; Bulgaria, 60; West Germany, 58; Yugoslavia, 51; People’s Republic of China, 38; and Argentina, 18.

The intensification of farming, the improvement of its material and technical base, and progress in the techniques of growing crops are continuing in the developed capitalist countries, as evidenced by the large quantity of agricultural machinery provided and by the use of increased amounts of mineral fertilizers. For example, in 1970, each tractor worked an average 28 ha of plowland in the United States, 16 ha in Great Britain, 15 ha in France, and 6 ha in West Germany. Mineral fertilizers were added (in kg, converted to conventional units) at the rate of 407 per ha in the United States, 936 in France, 943 in Great Britain, and 1,550 in West Germany. The intensification and industrialization of farming in the capitalist countries causes an overproduction of farm products and. mounting difficulties in selling them. This is ruining and eliminating small and peasant farms and cutting down sowing. In the United States the number of farms decreased from 5.6 million in 1950 to 3 million in 1969, and the sown area was reduced by 20 million ha. In France the number of peasant farms dropped from 2.3 million in 1955 to 1.7 million in 1967. In West Germany, of the 1.9 million farms in 1949, only 1.3 million remained in 1969. The European Economic Community (EEC) has worked out a plan for structural trans-formations in the agriculture of the Common Market coun-tries. These transformations consist essentially in the large-scale exclusion of small farms and the maximum promotion of large capitalist farms of the American type (a reduction is planned of the rural population of the Common Market coun-tries from 10 million to 5 million by 1980; in addition, 5 mil-lion ha will be withheld from cultivation). At the same time the poorest people in the capitalist countries (over 20 million in the United States) go undernourished. Unemployment is growing and social contradictions are sharpening.

The developing countries are lagging far behind the economically developed capitalist countries in the level of mechanization of farming and the use of fertilizers and other aspects of crop raising. They produce 2.5 times less agricultural products per capita and serve as markets for the sale of the products of the developed capitalist countries, which ex-port chiefly grain.

Of the total area of plowland throughout the world in 1970, 762 million ha (53.4 percent) were occupied by grains, approximately 174 million ha (12 percent) by industrial crops, and 22.5 million ha (1.6 percent) by potatoes. Grain farming is the world’s leading type of farming. In 1970 the world grain harvest came to 1,248.4 million tons—that is, it was 73 per-cent higher than the average annual harvest between 1948 and 1952, mainly because of an increase in yielding capacity (sown areas and yielding capacity increased 16 and 50 per-cent, respectively). Wheat was the leading grain in 1970 (209.8 million ha and 316.7 million tons of grain). Rice was second (134.6 million ha and 305.7 million tons of grain) and corn was third (107.3 million ha and 259.7 million tons of grain). Grain farming is most intensive in Western Europe. The high caliber of the farming produces high wheat yields, averaging 45.3 centners per ha in Denmark, 45.3 in the Netherlands, 41.9 in Great Britain, 37.9 in West Germany, and 34.4 in France. Wheat yields are much lower in the United States (21.1 centners), Canada (17.0), India (12.1), Turkey (11.9), Australia (11.6), Brazil (10.1), and many other capitalist countries.

The socialist countries are gaining increasing importance in world grain farming. In 1970 they produced 36.4 percent of the total grain, the share of the USSR being 15.4 percent. The socialist countries (including China) produce 47 percent of the world wheat yield, including 31.5 percent produced by the USSR. The following exporting countries determine the world wheat market (1969-70): United States (29.0 percent of the world export), Canada (15.1 percent), France (14 per-cent), Australia (11 percent), and Argentina (5.1 percent). In the United States, because of sales difficulties, wheat exports are subsidized by the government (dumping) and the amount of sown area is shrinking (23.8 million ha in 1967, 19.3 million ha in 1969, and 17.9 million ha in 1970). The same situation prevails in Canada. Wheat is imported by developing coun-tries, such as Pakistan, as well as by some developed capitalist countries of Western Europe, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China.

The main rice producers (1970) are the People’s Republic of China (total yield, 100 million tons, or 32.7 percent of the world crop), India (64.5 million tons), Pakistan (21.0 million tons), Indonesia (18.1 million tons), Japan (16.5 million tons), and Brazil (7.5 million tons). Of these countries only Japan supplies its own rice needs. The other countries import rice from the United States, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Egypt, and elsewhere.

Corn is grown for fodder (United States, USSR, countries of Western Europe) and for bread grain (Latin American, Asian, and African countries). Most of the corn is grown in the United States (in 1970, 23.2 million ha were occupied by corn, they yielded 104.4 million tons, or 40.2 percent of the world production). The socialist countries account for more than 10 percent of the world corn grain crop.

Cotton is the leading industrial crop. In 1970 it occupied 33.2 million ha, yielding a total of 11.6 million tons of cotton fiber. The USSR led the world in the production of cotton fiber in 1970 (2.75 million ha; total yield, 2,297,000 tons). In 1940 the United States accounted for more than 40 percent of the world cotton fiber production. However, because of the difficulties in selling cotton in the world market, less cotton was planted. Whereas this crop occupied 10.5 million ha in 1952, it occupied only 4.5 million ha in 1970, and the total yield dropped from 3,296,000 to 2,236,000 tons (second place). China was in third place (1,518,000 tons), followed by India (942,000 tons in 1969), Brazil (717,000 tons), Pakistan (539,000 tons in 1969), and Egypt (509,000 tons).

Sugar beets are grown mainly in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. In 1970 the area planted to industrial beets throughout the world amounted to 7.7 million ha, with a yield of 219.6 million tons. The socialist countries produce more than half the world’s sugar beets, the USSR accounting for 36 percent. West Germany and France, among the capitalist countries, are large producers of industrial beets. In the United States sugar beets occupy only 0.6 million ha. Beet sugar accounts for approximately 20 percent of the total sugar consumed in the country and cane sugar for the other 80 percent. The area planted to sugarcane throughout the world was 11.3 million ha in 1969-70. Sugarcane production is concentrated mainly in Cuba (1.7 million ha; 8.8 million tons of sugar in 1970), India (2.7 million ha; 4.3 million tons), and Brazil (1.7 million ha; 4.2 million tons).

In 1970 the total area occupied by potatoes was 22.5 mil-lion ha; the total yield came to 299.5 million tons. Socialist countries accounted for 65 percent of the world potato yield (the USSR, for 32 percent).

As a science The science of farming studies various methods of influencing soil and crops in order to obtain high and stable yields. Specifically, it studies and develops methods of regulating the water, nutrient, air, and heat regimes of the soil in order to guarantee normal growing conditions for crops by efficient soil cultivation, sowing, and planting; it studies and develops scientifically sound farming systems and rational crop rotations, as well as measures to increase soil fertility and yields; and it develops techniques for eliminating or reducing the negative factors that lower yields (drought, dry winds, soil erosion, weeds, and so forth). Modern farming is generally divided into general farming, or farming proper, which studies general methods for growing crops, and plant growing, or plant reproduction, which develops methods for raising individual crops and varieties. The course of general farming as given in schools consists of the following sections: the living conditions of crops and the regulation thereof, weeds and the methods of controlling them, soil cultivation, the theory of crop rotations, and farming systems.

As farming developed, agricultural chemistry, agricultural physics, breeding, variety investigation, seed growing, seed science, plant pathology, agricultural entomology, melioration, science of agricultural tools and machines, and other branches closely associated with farming gradually split off and became independent sciences. The natural sciences— soil science, plant physiology, microbiology, meteorology, physics, chemistry, cybernetics, electronics, mechanics, and other technical sciences—constitute the theoretical foundation of farming. The principal method used in farming re-search is the field experiment, which provides an opportunity to study methods of cultivating crops under field conditions similar to those of actual farming. The pot method, as well as field-laboratory and laboratory methods (physical, chemical, microbiological), are used to study the mineral and air nutrition of plants, the patterns of plant growth and development, and so forth. Farm experiments are performed directly on farms to test and apply advances in science and agricultural practice.

The history of farming as a science cannot be separated from the history of agronomy and from the names of out-standing representatives of agronomical thought in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries: A. Thaer (Germany), J. Liebig (Germany), J. Boussingault (France), H. Helriegel (Ger-many), G. Mendel (Czechoslovakia), L. Burbank (United States), M. V. Lomonosov, A. T. Bolotov, I. M. Komov, A. N. Engel’gardt, V. V. Dokuchaev, and P. A. Kostychev (Russia). A. K. Timiriazev, V. R. Vil’iams, D. N. Prianishnikov, K. K. Gedroits, and I. V. Michurin have continued their creative work during the years of Soviet power. N. I. Vavilov made a major contribution to plant genetics and breeding. These scientists and their many followers worked on the basic problems of farming: the rational use of land, the increase of soil fertility, and the chemicalization of farming.

In the USSR, a scientifically sound agricultural system has been worked out for each of the principal agricultural zones. The farming system is the most important part of this system. Many of the proposed farming systems have been introduced in agricultural production and are helping to increase economic effectiveness. The All-Union Institute of Grain Farming proposed (1956-60) a soil-conserving farming system for the steppe regions of Northern Kazakhstan and Western Siberia, which are subject to wind erosion. This system is used over an area of about 20 million ha and provides an additional seed yield of 2-3 centners per ha (Lenin Prize, 1972). T. S. Mal’tsev, the innovator of kolkhoz production, developed a farming system (1951) to suit the soil and climatic conditions of the Transural region that calls for deep, moldboardless plowing and substitution of top hoeing for deep tillage. As part of the program for land development, kolkhozes and sovkhozes have begun to use irrigation systems in growing wheat, corn, vegetables, fruits, and grapes. Research organizations have proposed theoretically sound methods of agrotechnique and irrigation regimes for the irri-gated lands of the Ukraine, Northern Caucausus, Volga Region, and Moldavia.

Soviet agricultural physicists have developed hydroponic methods and suggested new cultivation practices based on the use of the rotary tiller. They are studying the use of polymers to condition the soil. Many scientific research institutes are testing methods of controlling drought, dry winds, and soil erosion, including techniques of windbreaking forestation.

In the chemicalization of farming, research is under way on the basic physiological patterns of root nutrition and the effect of fertilizers on yields. Other subjects studied include the efficiency of fertilizers, optimum doses, and the methods and times of adding fertilizers to various crops in the main soil-climate zones of the country (A. V. Sokolov, P. G. Naidin, J. V. Peive, and N. S. Avdonin). Research has been expanded in the synthesis and use of chemical agents to control weeds, diseases, and pests. Considerable emphasis is being placed on the development of biological controls.

The advances in Soviet breeding are helping greatly to in-crease crop productivity. Soviet breeders created valuable, highly productive varieties of wheat (P. P. Luk’ianenko, V. N. Remeslo, F. G. Kirichenko, and V. N. Mamontova), corn (B. P. Sokolov, G. S. Galeev, and M. I. Khadzhinov), sunflower (V. S. Pustovoit and L. A. Zhdanov), and potato (A. G. Lorkh, I. A. Veselovskii, and P. I. Al’smik). All cotton plantings consist of Soviet varieties, many of which are wilt-resistant and have fiber equal in quality to the best Egyptian varieties and superior in productivity. Valuable single-shoot sugar beet varieties have been bred that require much less manual labor to raise.

The scientific problems of farming are investigated and elaborated according to zones by an extensive network of research organizations: scientific research institutes, experi-mental stations, experimental fields, support points, experimental farms, and higher agricultural educational institutions. The V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences coordinates this research. The works and collected articles of the scientific research and training institutes are devoted to the main problems of farming. The Institute of Scientific Information of the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR periodically discusses farming in the USSR and abroad in its publications. Articles are printed in many scientific journals and journals of applied science—for example, Zemledelie (Farming), Pochvovedenie (Soil Science), and Agrokhimiia.

In foreign countries, as in the USSR, one of the central problems of scientific research in farming is to develop theoretical bases of soil cultivation and to search for ways to reduce mechanical effects on the soil. These effects can be reduced by performing several working operations simultaneously, reducing the number of cultivations, decreasing the area directly given to cultivation, and so on (minimum soil cultivation). This approach has stimulated interest in active cultivating tools (rotary plow, rotary hoe, and harrow).

Soil erosion is controlled in the United States by means of soil-conserving crop rotations, windbreaks, and chemicals. The countries of Western Europe have developed methods of creating a deep cultivated plowed layer of high fertility (sub-soiling, addition of fertilizers, chemical soil improvement).

Many of the oldest scientific research organizations in Western Europe and the United States cooperated in elaborating crop-rotation theory. The work of the Rothamsted Experimental Station (Great Britain), especially that of E. J. Russell, who directed it from 1912 to 1943, is world-famous. Work at the Institute of Farming and Crop Husbandry at the University of Halle (East Germany) on the rotation of crops was begun over 90 years ago by J. Kiihn and continued by G. Konnecke. Similar research is conducted at experimental stations in Askov, Denmark, and in Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio in the United States. Most of this work is directed at the narrow specialization of crop rotations. Because of the organization of grain farms without livestock raising, methods are being developed for maintaining the balance of organic matter in the soil by using straw in combination with a variety of green manure crops and nitrogenous fertilizers.

Some of the major achievements of foreign breeders include certain Mexican varieties of wheat and Japanese and Philippine varieties of rice. In Mexico, new wheat varieties developed after the war helped boost the yields of this crop.


Obshchee zemledelie s pochvovedeniem, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1966.
Zemledelie. Edited by S. A. Vorob’ev. Moscow, 1972.
Rübensam, E., and K. Rauhe. Zemledelie. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from German.)
Demolon, A. Rost i razvitie kul’turnykh rastenii. Moscow, 1961. [Translated from French.]
Russell, E. Pochvennye usloviia i rost rastenii. Moscow, 1955. (Translated from English.)
Mirovoe selskoe khoziaistvo. Moscow, 1966.
Vil’iams, V. R. Pochvovedenie: Zemledelie s osnovami pochvovedeniia, 6th ed. Moscow, 1949.
Rakitnikov, A. N. Geografiia sel’skogo khoziaistva. Moscow, 1970.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo SSSR v 1970. Moscow, 1971.
FAO. Production Yearbook, 1970. Rome, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The skills and practices of agriculture.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


honored as inventor of beekeeping. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 105]
goddess of grain. [Sumerian Myth.: Benét, 57]
Barren Ground
Dorinda Oakley makes her father’s poor farm prosperous. [Am. Lit.: Glasgow Barren Ground in Magill I, 57]
Bergson, Alexandra
proves her ability above brothers’ to run farm. [Am. Lit.: O Pioneers!, Magill I, 663–665]
bread basket
an agricultural area, such as the U.S. Midwest, that provides large amounts of food to other areas. [Am. Hist.: Misc.]
goddess of agriculture. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 13]
goddess of maize. [Aztec Myth.: Jobes, 322]
cow college
an agricultural college. [Pop. Culture: Misc.]
Dea Dia
ancient Roman goddess of agriculture. [Rom. Myth.: Howe, 77]
goddess of corn and agriculture. [Gk. Myth.: Jobes, 429–430]
god of fertility; sometimes associated with fertility of crops. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 575]
Fiacre, St.
extraordinary talent in raising vegetables; patron saint. [Christian Hagiog.: Attwater, 130]
goddess of agriculture, peace, and plenty. [Norse Myth.: Payton, 257]
Frome, Ethan
epitome of struggling New England farmer (1890s). [Am. Lit.: Ethan Frome]
goddess of the earth. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 785]
Roman Vergil’s poetic statement set in context of agriculture. [Rom. Lit.: Benét, 389]
Giants in the Earth
portrayal of man’s struggle with the stubborn earth. [Am. Lit.: Giants in the Earth, Magill I, 303–304]
Good Earth, The
portrayal of land as only sure means of survival. [Am. Lit.: The Good Earth]
King Cotton
term personifying the chief staple of the South. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 445]
name for Persephone as symbol of annual vegetation cycle. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: NCE, 1637]
god of farming. [Norse Myth.: Benét, 728]
Persephone (Roman: Proserpine)
goddess of fertility; often associated with crops. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: NCE, 1637]
Shimerda, Antonia “like
wavering grass, a child of the prairie and farm.” [Am. Lit.: My Antonia, Magill I, 630–632]
god of agriculture. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 13]
an Eleusinian who learns from Demeter the art of growing corn. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 557]
Walstan, St.
English patron saint of husbandmen. [Christian Hagiog.: Brewer Dictionary, 1138]
wheat ears, garland
of to Demeter, goddess of grain. [Gk. Myth.: Jobes, 374]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(From Adelaide University, Australia) What the heads of a disk drive are said to do when they plow little furrows in the magnetic media during a head crash. Typically used as follows: "Oh no, the machine has just crashed; I hope the hard drive hasn't gone farming again."
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(1) See pharming.

(2) Collecting points or objects in a video game. See grinding.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
* Farming changes and a retreat to urban areas are changing the business strategies of some small, regional farm mutuals.
This rich work sheds light on a number of additional elements useful in understanding farming in modern America.
Rex Dalton, writing in the September 2004 issue of Nature, cited pollution-related issues at salmon pens in Canada and diseases stemming from tuna farming in Mexico.
* Salmon farming is slowly reducing the amount of fish available for human consumption.
Use of the cash method allows qualifying farming businesses to pay taxes only on the income they have actually collected, thus helping cashflow, while still maintaining their books on an accrual basis for financial statement presentation, to better assess their financial position.
Farming is not only a business but first and foremost stewardship, Burke adds.
So, although its overall impact is minimal, butterfly farming, by giving rural Costa Ricans an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture, is a powerful example of sustainable development.
Against this, we have to ask what's to gain by displacing family-based farming with corporate agribusiness firms.
An approach such as this during my high school years of 1942-1946, was known as balanced farming. That name has long been discarded.
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: Top Brackendale, Bingam; Hall Farm, Kneeton; CA Strawson Farming Ltd, Newark.
In terms of farming, sustainability indicates a stewardship (not simply ownership) of the land.