A revolving milking parlour at a modern dairy farmThe world relies on farming (also called agriculture) for its food. Arable farming is the cultivation of crops, such as cereals and vegetables. Another type of cultivation is the growing of trees or bushes. These include fruit orchards, olive groves, vineyards, rubber, coffee or cocoa plantations. Livestock farming involves raising animals such as pigs, cows and sheep for their meat, milk or wool. The animals graze on grassland or on rough pasture. Some farmers concentrate on one type of farming. Others have mixed farms where they both grow crops and keep livestock.
People first started to grow crops about 12,000 years ago. They discovered that some wild plants produced seeds that could be ground into flour. These wild plants could be made to grow in fields. Today, vast areas of land that were once natural grasslands or woodlands are under cultivation.
Around 30% of the world's farmland is used for arable farming. The rest is used for planting permanent crops such as trees and vines, and for pastures and meadows.
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