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mixed farming

  A pattern of agricultural land-use which combines the production of crops and livestock on the same farm. Until the twentieth century, mixed farming was the staple farming system in most parts of the world. Raising various combinations of domesticated plants and animals provided the basis of more balanced subsistence diets and enabled farmers to spread their market risks across a range of produce. Mixed farming methods also have advantages in the complementary management of resources, for example, by feeding animals on crop waste and fallow land and using animal manure to fertilize crops (Mannion, 1995).

A rapid decline in this pattern of farming in the post-war period, particularly in advanced industrial countries, has been brought about by the industrialization of agriculture (Lawrence, 1987). This has seen an increasing specialization of agricultural land-use at the regional and farm level, with farms becoming larger in size and scale and more intensive in their methods of production (Fitzsimmons, 1986). This shift in the organization of farming practices has been accompanied by changes in the farmed landscape which first aroused public concern about the environmental effects of the industrialization of agriculture (Westmacott and Worthington, 1984). (See also agribusiness; agricultural geography; agro-food system; intensive agriculture.) (SW)

References Fitzsimmons, M. 1986: The new industrial agriculture: the regional integration of speciality crop production. Economic Geography 62: 334-53. Lawrence, G. 1987: Capitalism and the countryside: the rural crisis in Australia. Sydney: Pluto Press. Mannion, A. 1995: Agriculture and environmental change. Chichester: John Wiley, ch. 2. Westmacott, R. and Worthington, T. 1984: Agricultural landscapes: a second look. Cheltenham: Countryside Commission.



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