Over the last two hundred years the population of the world has increased greatly.Agriculture and farming have gone through many changes as a result of increased population,evolving technology, and the need for more efficient crop production.
Without these changes tothe agriculture industry, the current population could not be supported. These changes have haddramatic impacts on food production and farmers that support it. The population of the world in 1900 was 1.6 billion.
Today the population is 7.6 billionand is estimated to be 9.7 billion by 2050. The United States had a population of 76,094,000 in1900, excluding the population of Alaska and Hawaii. The current United States population is325,498,801 and makes up 4.3% of the world population. Texas is the second largest state in sizebehind Alaska and had a population of 3,048,710 in 1900. Texas ranks second in the UnitedStates for population and is estimated to be at 28.
3 million today. In the early to mid 1900’s, farmers relied only on human and animal workers to run thefarm. Farmers accounted for 38% of the work force in the United States. Agriculture wasbecoming a big business and was 58% of exports. By 1950, machines and technology beganmaking farm life more efficient.
There were things like milking machines and tractors to makedaily chores easier. Due to the introduction of machinery the number of farmers dropped to lessthan a fifth of all workers. Today agricultural technology is so advanced, farming is now Horton 2primarily a corporate business and hardly resembles the 1900’s farm life.
The number of farmerstoday makes up less than 2% of the population. Even with the growth of population over the last200 years the number of farmers in comparison to 1900 has declined. The significant growth of the global population in the 20th century forced farmingpractices to change to keep up with the demand.
The decreasing number of family farms nowmust compete with industrial farms to stay in business. Agriculture and farming machinery nowtakes the place of farm workers. The way in which animals are raised has changed too.Antibiotics are widely used for protection against loss of livestock and housing of animals isconfined for higher production with less space needed. Farmers have also had to find new waysto avoid loss of crops.
They have learned how to improve crops for productivity and developedgenetically engineered crops that have higher production with less loss risk. Farmers haveincreased the amount of artificial fertilizers and chemical pesticides used to protect their crops.These changes in farming allow an individual farmer to feed 155 people today compared toabout 7 people in 1900. These changes in farming have also opened a growing area for organicfarming. Many people now want to return to a less industrial way of consuming food that is freeof antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically modified products. All the advancements in agriculture over the last century have allowed the production offood to increase to feed the growing world population. An estimated 17% of energy in the UnitedStates is used for agriculture purpose.
It is also estimated the 70% of the world’s fresh water isused for agriculture. Without these resources, we would not be able to support the population andits continued growth. The changes to farming agriculture will have to continue into the future as Horton 3we continue to solve for population growth, depleting natural resources, and potential climatechange.