Bales of hay on a farm near Ames, Iowa
A farm is the basic unit in agriculture. It is a section of land devoted to the production and management of food, either produce or livestock. It may be an enterprise owned and operated by a single individual, family, or community, or it may be owned by a corporation or company. A farm can be a holding of any size from a fraction of a hectare to several thousand hectares. In England there is a vague point when a large farm ceases to be referred to as a farm and becomes an estate; allthough this term can refer to a collection of farms in the same ownership.
The word has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon word feorm, which relates to provisioning and food supply, and was originally indicative of a form of taxation, whereby goods or monetary equivalents were liable to the king. Over time, this taxation was translated into a form of rental tax.
The development of farming and farms was an important component in establishing towns. Once a people move from hunting and collecting and from simple horticulture to active farming, social arrangements of roads, distribution, collection, and marketing can evolve. With the exception of plantations and colonial farms, farm sizes tend to be small in newly settled lands and to extend as transportation and markets become sophisticated. Farming rights have been central to a number of revolutions, wars of liberation, and post-colonial economics.
Enterprises where livestock are raised on rangeland are called ranches. Where livestock are raised in confinement on feed produced elsewhere, the term feedlot is usually used. A truck farm is a farm that raises vegetables, but little or no grain. Truck is an archaic word for vegetables. Orchard is used for enterprises producing tree fruits or nuts, and vineyard is used for enterprises producing raisins, wine or table grapes. The stable is used for operations principally involved in the production of horses and other animals and livestock.
See agriculture for a detailed article.
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46