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Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization.


  • For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agriculture.
    • Cicero, De Oficiis (44 BC), Book 1, section 42. Translation by Cyrus R. Edmonds (1873), p. 73.
  • Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands. As long therefore as they can find emploiment in this line, I would not convert them into mariners, artisans, or any thing else. But our citizens will find emploiment in this line till their numbers, and of course their productions, become too great for the demand both internal and foreign.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Jay (August 23, 1785); reported in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd (1953), vol. 8, p. 426.
  • England is the only country in Europe that can boast of having improved its agriculture and the cultivation of its soil beyond that of any other European nation. The condition of English agriculture, compared with that of our own, is like light contrasted with shade.
  • Adam, well may we labour, still to dress
    This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower.
  • Where grows?—where grows it not? If vain our toil,
    We ought to blame the culture, not the soil.
  • Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
    And nodding tempt the joyful reaper's hand.
  • And he gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
  • In ancient times, the sacred Plough employ'd
    The Kings and awful Fathers of mankind:
    And some, with whom compared your insect-tribes
    Are but the beings of a summer's day,
    Have held the Scale of Empire, ruled the Storm
    Of mighty War; then, with victorious hand,
    Disdaining little delicacies, seized
    The Plough, and, greatly independent, scorned
    All the vile stores corruption can bestow.
  • E'en in mid-harvest, while the jocund swain
    Pluck'd from the brittle stalk the golden grain,
    Oft have I seen the war of winds contend,
    And prone on earth th' infuriate storm descend,
    Waste far and wide, and by the roots uptorn,
    The heavy harvest sweep through ether borne,
    As the light straw and rapid stubble fly
    In dark'ning whirlwinds round the wintry sky.
    • Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), I, line 351. Sotheby's translation.
  • Laudato ingenua rura,
    Exiguum colito.
    • Praise a large domain, cultivate a small state.
    • Virgil, Georgics (c. 29 BC), II. 412.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 18-19.
  • "Ten acres and a mule."
    • American phrase indicating the expectations of emancipated slaves (1862).
  • Three acres and a cow.
    • Jeremy Bentham, Works, Volume VIII, p. 448. Quoted from Bentham by Lord Rosebery. Monologue on Pitt, in Twelve English Statesmen. Referred to by Sir John Sinclair Code of Agriculture, Miscellaneous Essays, 1802. Same idea in Defoe's Tour through the whole Islands of Britain, 6th Ed. Phrase made familiar by Hon. Jesse Collings in the House of Commons, 1886, "Small Holdings amendment".
  • Look up! the wide extended plain
    Is billowy with its ripened grain,
    And on the summer winds are rolled
    Its waves of emerald and gold.
  • Arbores serit diligens agricola, quarum adspiciet baccam ipse numquam.
    • The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I, 14.
  • He was a very inferior farmer when he first begun,… and he is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.
  • Oculos et vestigia domini, res agro saluberrimas, facilius admittit.
    • He allows very readily, that the eyes and footsteps of the master are things most salutary to the land.
    • Columella, De Re Rustica, IV. 18.
  • The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.
  • Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield:
    Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
    How jocund did they drive their team a-field!
    How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
    • Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard, Stanza 7.
  • Beatus ille qui procul negotiis,
    Ut prisca gens mortalium,
    Paterna rura bpbus exercet suis,
    Solutus omni fænore.
    • Happy he who far from business, like the primitive race of mortals, cultivates with his own oxen the fields of his fathers, free from all anxieties of gain.
    • Horace, Epodon, Book II. 1.
  • Ye rigid Ploughmen! bear in mind
    Your labor is for future hours.
    Advance! spare not! nor look behind!
    Plough deep and straight with all your powers!
  • Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.
  • The life of the husbandman,—a life fed by the bounty of earth and sweetened by the airs of heaven.
  • Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad cœlum.
    • He who owns the soil, owns up to the sky.
    • Law Maxim.
  • When the land is cultivated entirely by the spade, and no horses are kept, a cow is kept for every three acres of land.
    • John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Book II, Chapter VI, Section V. (Quoting from a treatise on Flemish husbandry).
  • Continua messe senescit ager.
    • A field becomes exhausted by constant tillage.
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 82.
  • Majores fertilissium in agro oculum domini esse dixerunt.
    • Our fathers used to say that the master's eye was the best fertilizer.
    • Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, XVIII. 84.
  • Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
    Patient of labour when the end was rest,
    Indulg'd the day that hous'd their annual grain,
    With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain.
  • Ill husbandry braggeth
    To go with the best:
    Good husbandry baggeth
    Up gold in his chest.
    • Thomas Tusser, Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, Chapter LII. Comparing Good Husbandry.
  • Ill husbandry lieth
    In prison for debt:
    Good husbandry spieth
    Where profit to get.
    • Thomas Tusser, Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry, Chapter LII. Comparing Good Husbandry.
  • Blessed be agriculture! if one does not have too much of it.
  • When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.
  • But let the good old corn adorn
    The hills our fathers trod;
    Still let us, for his golden corn,
    Send up our thanks to God!
  • Heap high the farmer's wintry hoard!
    Heap high the golden corn!
    No richer gift has Autumn poured
    From out her lavish horn!

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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