Section 1: Introduction

Figure 1. An endless field of canola

Figure 1.  An endless field of canola shows the beautiful North Dakota landscape. (David Paukert)

Agriculture is another word for farming and ranching. It includes the production of crops and the raising of livestock.

The word “agriculture” comes from the Latin roots agri (land) plus cultūra (cultivation). Cultivation (kul-tah-VAY-shun) means preparing land for growing crops. Crops are plants that are grown in large amounts for human or livestock food, or for use in industry.

Agriculture provides almost everything that people eat and wear. For this reason, it is probably the most important industry in the world. An industry is a business that produces (makes) and sells goods.

What is the number one industry in North Dakota? You guessed it! Agriculture! North Dakota’s economy  is based on agriculture. An economy (ee-KON-ah-me) refers to the money or possessions created by managing the goods and resources of a region.

The area now called North Dakota has not always had that name. North Dakota did not become a state until 1889. For this text, we will use “North Dakota” to describe the area even before it became a state.