Full text: Modern business geography

Tue FieLp or PriMARY PRrobpuUcCTION 
WHEN man obtains wild honey from a forest, gold from river gravels, 
grass from natural meadows, or fish from streams, he simply reaches 
out and takes what nature has produced. For such products, nature 
does nearly all the work. In most cases, however, man and nature 
enter into a more nearly equal partnership. They work together as 
producers. In agriculture, for instance, nature supplies soil, wind, 
rain, and sun; man furnishes seed and tools; and both partners work 
vigorously to make the crop profitable. In mining, nature furnishes 
deposits of rich ores that she has been storing up for ages, and it is 
man’s work to discover and extract them. Forests are like mines in 
that they are nature’s storehouses. 
In the field of primary production we shall study the materials that 
are produced by man and nature together. 
The occupations of primary production. Five occupations—farm- 
ing, fishing, mining, lumbering, and hunting — represent the ways in 
which man obtains products directly from nature. Except for hunt- 
ing, which is of little commercial importance, these primary occupa- 
tions are all practiced extensively in every continent, most of them 
in every country, whereas manufacturing is highly developed in only 
a comparatively few advanced countries. The primary producers 
supply the world’s pantry and the stock room for all manufacturing 
plants. Without them, the world’s activities would come to a stand- 
still. We shall study the four chief primary occupations separately, 
beginning with farming. 
The importance of farming. Farming is the most important of all 
occupations. In the world as a whole the number of people engaged in 
it and the value of its products make it more important than all other 
occupations combined. In some countries, such as India, Hungary, 
and China, more than two thirds of the men are farmers. Even in the 
United States, where manufacturing, commerce, and mining are of 
great importance, a quarter of the men are farmers.

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