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What is the similarity between commercial farming and subsistence farming?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2010.08  

Asked at 2010.08.31 03:10:52

answer RichardJ  Answered at 2010.08.31 03:10:52
Hello, this is an interesting question. Usually a question like this is cast by asking what the difference is between the two types. It seems to me that there are some similarities, as well.

First, as the other poster stated, they both involve using agriculture to produce plant or animal products. In the former case, the intent is generally to produce enough so a profit can be made by selling to other people. In the latter case, the farmer produces just enough for the family to consume and possibly trade for other products that cannot be grown on the land.

However, if one looks at the Earth as a global community, then the quantity of food grown by commercial growers must be enough to sustain the world's population or there would be widespread famine. This is true, because many people have other work than farming (such as doctors, ministers, nurses, teachers, miners, loggers, etc).

Therefore, you could view commercial farming as a global subsistence farming in that sufficient product must be farmed in order to just satisfy the consumption needs of all people. If there is not enough grown, then there is more demand than supply and the price for goods will rise. If more food is grown than needed, there is a surplus with less demand and the price will fall.

Another similarity might be gleamed by focusing on the subsistence farmer, who may grow more than is really needed in a single year in order to compensate for "bad" years. This is also done by commercial farmers who try to grow more of a product that is in demand, when they can, because they know that not only the weather conditions, but the demand for their product fluctuates from year to year.

And the subsistence farmer may try to be as efficient as possible on the land they use, because they want to have more time to spend with family and their community. Likewise, commercial farmers will seek efficiency in their operations, both to produce more product in less time and to also save money on fuel, labor, and equipment costs. Also, commercial farmers have family they would like to spend more time with, as well...

Some rambling here, my friend, but I hope it gives you some ideas on potential similarities between the commercial and the subsistence farmer. Thanks for asking.

All the best, Rick
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