Agriculture


Agriculture
   Agriculture has been one of the most important means of subsistence since prehistoric times. During the Middle Ages, agriculture was mainly organized by large landowners, including monasteries, or by colonists who turned wastelands into cultivated farms, for instance, in the borderland between the provincesof Hollandand Utrecht. In the later Middle Ages, serfdom disappeared in most parts of western Europe. Agriculture became mostly a smallscale enterprise in the Netherlands, farmers being owners or tenants. During the 19th century, agriculture was a prospering sector of economic activities, particularly in the coastal provinces, apart from a severe agricultural crisis in 1878; other production, cooperation, and specializing countered this crisis. In the last decades of this century, the farms in the sandy areas of the country transformed from a socalled peasant economy to a more profitable commercial economy. In the 20th century, the number of farms has steadily decreased, although new land was reclaimed in the IJsselmeer. Yet, through intensive cultivation, economies of scale, and modern techniques, some sectors such as the production of cheese, vegetables, and flowers have survived or prospered. Dairy farming also remained a highly developed branch. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector has not ceased shrinking, dropping from about 300,000 farms in 1968 to around 145,000 in 1980 and about 81,000 in 2005. Now using about 54 percent of the Dutch soil, it represents about 2 percent of gross national product. The proportion of people working in agriculture diminished from about 17 percent in 1950 to just 1 percent of the present labor force. This decline has probably been eased by policies of the European Union (EU) and its predecessors. The issuing of rules, for instance, to decrease milk and dung surpluses, has made farming a more complicated activity recently. Furthermore, swine fever (1997), foot-and-mouth disease (2001), and fowl pest (2003) had to be controlled. Yet, the Netherlands is still one of world’s greatest exporters of agricultural products. Dutch forestry, however, is only a marginal industry, because woodland is scarce and mostly used for recreational purposes.
   See also Fishing; Wageningen.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • AGRICULTURE — Étymologiquement, agriculture signifie «culture des champs», le mot culture devant être pris dans le sens de «mise en condition». Il désigne, par extension, la production des biens et les conditions de vie en milieu rural: la culture du blé, de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • agriculture — ag‧ri‧cul‧ture [ˈægrɪˌkʌltʆə ǁ ər] noun [uncountable] FARMING the practice or science of farming: • Agriculture accounts for over 25% of net domestic production. agricultural adjective : • sales of agricultural machinery exˌtensive ˈagriculture …   Financial and business terms

  • agriculture — AGRICULTURE. s. fém. L art de cultiver la terre. Cet homme aime l agriculture, entend bien l agriculture. Traité d agriculture …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Agriculture —    Agriculture (most often associated with the kibbutz) has occupied a position of prominence in Israel and in Zionist ideology greater than its economic contribution has warranted. Its central place in Zionist ideology, dominant role in the… …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • Agriculture — Ag ri*cul ture (?; 135), n. [L. agricultura; ager field + cultura cultivation: cf. F. agriculture. See {Acre} and {Culture}.] The art or science of cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of crops, and the rearing and management of live… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • AGRICULTURE —    Agriculture formed the basis of the Mesopotamian economy. The first steps toward a managed production of cereals were taken as early as the 10th millennium B.C. in Syria, in the area known as the Fertile Crescent, which receives sufficient… …   Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia

  • agriculture — AGRICULTURE: Une des mamelles de l État (l État est du genre masculin, mais ça ne fait rien). On devrait l encourager. Manque de bras …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues

  • agriculture — agriculture, sociology of See rural sociology …   Dictionary of sociology

  • agriculture — (n.) mid 15c., from L.L. agricultura cultivation of the land, compound of agri cultura cultivation of land, from agri, gen. of ager a field (see ACRE (Cf. acre)) + cultura cultivation (see CULTURE (Cf. culture)). In Old English, the idea was… …   Etymology dictionary

  • agriculture — *agrarian …   New Dictionary of Synonyms