Agriculture is the cultivation of land and breeding of animals and plants to provide food, fiber, medicinal plants and other products to sustain and enhance life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years; people gathered wild grains at least 105,000 years ago, and began to plant them around 11,500 years ago, before they became domesticated. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Crops originate from at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has in the past century become the dominant agricultural method.
Without competition we would be clinging to the clumsy antiquated processes of farming and manufacture and the methods of business of long ago, and the twentieth would be no further advanced than the eighteenth century.
William McKinley Speech delivered at the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York (September 5, 1901).