Agriculture is the science of cultivating soil for growing crops and rearing livestock to provide food and non-food products. Agriculture also encompasses aquaculture, fisheries and forestry. Before agriculture existed humans gathered wild plants and hunted animals. Gradually people learned to grow cereals and root crops. Following this was the domestication of animals. Domesticated animals brought about products such as milk, butter and cheese. Domestication of animals later assisted in ploughing, pulling and transportation.
Agriculture encouraged trade and civilisations developed. In the early 1700s farming machinery was invented resulting in dramatic increases in food production. With the physical labour decreasing farmers could concentrate on new methods of farming such as crop rotations enhancing soil quality and selective breeding. Today agriculture has a responsibility to the environment while facing the challenges of droughts, floods and other natural disasters. Understanding the science associated with agriculture helps to produce higher quality food and non-food products.