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Agriculture is the science and practice of preparing the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock. Agriculture is the process through which humans get food and many other resources. 

Societies have practiced agriculture for thousands of years. Experts have difficulty pinpointing the exact start
of agriculture, but estimates range from 10,000 to 25,000 years ago. Agriculture has taken many forms over its long history. Today, it is practiced on scales from very small, such as growing tomatoes in a pot, to very large, such as raising bison on ranches. You may find a wide variety of agricultural techniques in both urban areas and rural areas. 

Historically, many people practiced agriculture on a small scale at their homes or in their communities. Over time, however, fewer and fewer people practiced agriculture at home. New techniques and technologies have become so efficient that agriculture has been able to support larger populations with fewer people farming. Farmers can grow enough food for themselves and their communities, to sell at grocery stores, and even trade with people across the globe. 


Supporting the 7 1/2 billion people on Earth requires a large amount of land to be used in agriculture. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 11 percent of land worldwide is used for agriculture. Scientists expect Earth’s population to continue to grow. With population growth, scientists expect increased productivity on agriculture lands as a result of improved technologies and practices. In the United States, large amounts of agricultural land are located in the Midwest. The scientists in this study found that 43 percent of midwestern land is used to grow corn and soybeans. The scientists in this study were interested in determining the impact of harvesting wild plants on the long-term health of plant populations. 



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