what is the second agricultural revolution

what is the second agricultural revolution

The First Agricultural Revolution

A dramatic change in human civilization occurred during a crucial era when people began to practice agriculture. This historic alteration in the lifestyle of humans is referred to as the first agrarian transformation. With this revolution, individuals started cultivating crops and keeping domesticated animals, leading to stable food supplies and social hierarchy formation.

The first agricultural transformation was a significant development that occurred roughly 10,000 years ago in the region known as the Fertile Crescent. The adoption of agriculture led to an increase in population density and ultimately led to society’s evolution. With this transformation, humans began to settle down permanently, forming more complex civilizations with specialized professions like metallurgy and pottery.

The transition from hunting-gathering societies to agricultural societies marked an essential moment for human history. Agricultural societies allowed for stronger economies and the rise of cities due to food surpluses. This agrarian development paved the way for future technological advancements.

Pro Tip: The First Agricultural Revolution played a vital role in shaping human society by providing increased food security and starting a path towards civilization.

Farming got a serious upgrade with the Second Agricultural Revolution – no more waiting for rain dances to work.

The Second Agricultural Revolution

The Second Agricultural Revolution was a significant development in farming practices that took place during the 18th and 19th centuries, marked by the introduction of new farming techniques, machinery and technology. This period brought about an increase in food production, which led to population growth and urbanization. Farmers began to use seed drills, plows, and other new technology to improve their efficiency and productivity. The development of transportation infrastructure also allowed for the transportation of goods more efficiently. This revolution allowed for more sustainable and efficient farming practices.

One of the unique aspects of the Second Agricultural Revolution was the shift towards the commercialization of agriculture. Farmers began to produce crops for the market, rather than just for subsistence purposes. This led to the growth of a market economy and the development of new markets for agricultural products. The Second Agricultural Revolution also saw the introduction of new crops and livestock, which helped to improve nutrition and food security.

During this period, there were many notable figures who made significant contributions to the development of agriculture, such as Jethro Tull, who invented the seed drill, and Robert Bakewell, who developed selective breeding techniques for livestock. These innovations helped to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability in agriculture.

In the late 19th century, the Second Agricultural Revolution gave way to the Green Revolution, a period marked by further technological advancements in agriculture. However, the Second Agricultural Revolution laid the foundation for modern agriculture and remains an important historical period in the development of farming practices.

Welcome to the Second Agricultural Revolution: where tractors took over the reins from horses and farmers became the masters of plowing and planting.

Definition and Overview

The Second Agricultural Revolution marked a pivotal moment in human history. It was an era when innovative methods and technologies transformed agriculture, leading to significant increases in crop yields and food production. This agricultural revolution began during the 18th century and continued well into the 20th century.

Throughout this period, farmers experimented with new farming techniques, such as crop rotation, selective breeding of livestock, and improved fertilization methods. These innovations resulted in higher crop yields, which helped feed an ever-growing population.

Another significant change that occurred during this period was the transition from manual labor to mechanized agriculture. The use of machines like tractors, plows and combine harvesters saved time and increased efficiency on farms. The introduction of these machines transformed not only how crops were grown but also how they were harvested.

The Second Agricultural Revolution paved the way for modern agriculture by introducing new production techniques that still influence farming practices today. For instance, many modern farmers continue to use selective breeding techniques to produce genetically superior plants and animals that are more resistant to environmental stresses.

According to History.com, “By 1860, there were more than 200 agricultural fairs annually throughout the U.S., showcasing new equipment like reapers (mechanical cutters), planters, cultivators and binders. Many of these fairs still exist today.”

Time travel may not be possible yet, but let’s take a trip back in history to explore the Second Agricultural Revolution.

Time Frame and Location

For the era and location of the Second Agricultural Revolution, it refers to the period from the late 19th century to the early 20th century in developed countries such as North America and Europe. This revolution aimed at improving agricultural practices, mechanizing farming, increasing productivity, and enhancing food supply.

Below is a Table that summarizes some details of the Second Agricultural Revolution era and location:

Time Frame Location
Late 19th century to early 20th c. North America

Additionally, during this revolution, significant advancements were made such as using chemical fertilizers, seed drills, reapers, and threshers which replaced traditional farm tools. The shift to modern methods led to significant improvements in crop yield and helped maintain ample food supplies for urban populations.

A notable story related to this revolution is that of Sir William Crookes, who was searching for new ways to increase food production in Britain. His study led him towards fertilizer innovation that allowed crops grown not only in Britain but around the world as well.

Who knew a bunch of farmers playing musical chairs with their crops could revolutionize the world?


The reasons behind the Second Agricultural Revolution are multi-dimensional.

  1. Technological innovations such as seed drills, plows, and horseshoes allowed for more efficient farming practices.
  2. Advancements in breeding livestock equipped farmers with stronger and healthier animals capable of heavier workloads.

Moreover, there was an influx of labour due to the industrial revolution’s success, leading to more people leaving rural areas to join the urban workforce. This reduced farm sizes, hence resulting in larger farms with better yields due to advancements in technology and agriculture practices.

Furthermore, modernized transportation facilitated easier shipping of crops and livestock from rural areas to urban centres. Thus farmers gained access to a broader market to sell their produce which accelerated the agricultural industry’s growth.

To maintain this pace of development and sustain its positive impact on society and nature, we recommend integrated pest management techniques like crop rotations and using beneficial insects instead of pesticides. Utilizing advanced irrigation techniques also significantly increases productivity while reducing water usage by almost 20%.

Why did the farmer switch to a GPS-guided combine? So he could finally crop-dust and tweet at the same time.

Innovations and Technologies

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Who knew crop rotation had such a spin on history? The Second Agricultural Revolution: changing the game one field at a time.


The far-reaching effects of the Second Agricultural Revolution cannot be overstated. This transformational period in agricultural history resulted in significant advancements that improved food production, human livelihood and technology.

A table showcasing the impacts of the Second Agricultural Revolution is as follows:

Impacts True and Actual Data
Increased crop yields Unleashed yield potential with selective breeding and mechanization.
Population growth Made possible by surplus food supply resulting from increased yields.
Technological innovation Innovations such as seed drills, plows, harrows, and threshing machines revolutionized farming practices.
Urbanization Increased migration into cities occurred because of improved agriculture production in rural areas.
Global trade expansion The expansion of agriculture allowed countries to increase their trade by exporting crops for profit.

It’s also worth noting that this era facilitated economic growth on a regional and global scale through increased production capacity.

As we reflect on the immense impacts of the Second Agricultural Revolution, it’s clear that it was a game-changer for humanity’s food production capabilities. Missing out on similar revolutions could have devastating consequences for our future food supply, emphasizing the need to stay vigilant towards technological advancements in agriculture.

Who knew that farming could be so revolutionary? Apparently, the first revolution was just child’s play compared to the second one.

Comparison between the First and Second Agricultural Revolution

The First and Second Agricultural Revolutions can be compared in terms of their impact on agriculture globally. Here is a factual and informative comparison between the two:

First Agricultural Revolution Second Agricultural Revolution
Time Period: 10,000 BC – 1,000 BC Time Period: 1700s – 1900s
Invention: Crop cultivation, domestication Invention: Improved crop yield, crop rotation, hybridization
Major impact: Improved food production, surplus storage Major impact: Mass production of food, population growth

Beyond their differences, the Second Agricultural Revolution contributed further to the rise of industry and capitalism. With better food production came a boost in population growth and a higher demand for food. However, despite the technological advancements of the Second Agricultural Revolution, it also caused concerns about the environmental impact of intensive farming.

Historically, the Second Agricultural Revolution occurred during the Industrial Revolution when new technologies were rapidly developed to improve production. As such, it was an important precursor to modern farming.

Farmers today may have more technology at their disposal, but they still can’t control the weather – the ultimate equalizer in agriculture.


To Compare the First and Second Agricultural Revolution, there exist essential similarities that signify evolution from primitive farming practices. The shared aspects include technological progress, advancements in irrigation, enhanced transportation, and innovation in crop management techniques.

Similarities First Agricultural Revolution Second Agricultural Revolution
Technological Advancement The plow was invented. Heavy machinery such as tractors were introduced for improved land usage and production.
Irrigation Systems Utilized manual water systems. There was an improvement to the irrigation systems with the invention of automatic sprinklers.
Transportation Primitive methods such as animal-drawn carts or boats. Enhancements led to new vehicles like the trains, which eased transport of agricultural products over long distances.
Crop Management Farmers depended on diversity through mixed farming. With scientific discoveries, farmers could choose high-yield crops dependent on soil quality and climate conditions.

Regarding unique details not previously mentioned, experts argue that while both revolutions used technology advancements to increase yields and improve food availability, each marked a significant change in world history through agriculture.

To further improve agriculture as a means of livelihood in society today, collaborating with farmers on innovative technologies nurtured towards sustainable practices could improve productivity greatly while conserving natural resources. Another suggestion involves improving agricultural education by use of digital extension services that empower farmers to participate effectively in farm operations for better yields.

Looks like the Second Agricultural Revolution went all in on the ‘bigger is better’ philosophy, while the First one was perfectly happy with its humble little farms.


The differences between the First and Second Agricultural Revolution are significant. They revolutionized farming practices and shaped the course of civilization. Let’s compare them side by side with a table.

Feature First Agricultural Revolution Second Agricultural Revolution
Time frame 10,000 BC – 5,000 BC 17th to 19th century
Area of cultivation Small plots Large fields
Irrigation techniques Simple irrigation systems Advanced irrigation methods
Tools Basic hand tools Farm machinery
Crop yield Low High

Although the table covers most of the differences, it is worth noting that the First Agricultural Revolution happened over an extended period while the second one took place within two centuries.

In terms of social impact, both revolutions brought significant changes to society. The first one marked a major shift from hunting-gathering societies to agrarian societies, while the second one introduced modernized farming methods led by scientific knowledge.

A farmer in England during the Second Agricultural Revolution once said that “the right way in farming is to have small farms and cultivate them well.” This statement highlights how even with modern methodology and technology improvements, there has still been a longing for maintaining traditional agricultural practices and ideals.

Like the unpredictable weather patterns during the First Agricultural Revolution, the Second Agricultural Revolution shook things up with new machinery and methods – but at least we didn’t have to worry about getting trampled by horses anymore.


The ramifications of the second agricultural revolution were profound and long-lasting. The development of new technologies such as the plow, combine harvester, and tractor facilitated increased productivity, allowing for greater crop yields. Additionally, advances in irrigation systems enabled agriculture to expand into previously barren areas.

The societal impact of these advancements was significant. The ability to produce more crops led to a surplus of food and lowered prices. This allowed for many people to afford better diets and improved their overall quality of life.

Despite these positive impacts, the second agricultural revolution contributed to environmental degradation through deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution from pesticides and fertilizers.

To fully understand how modern agriculture developed, it is essential to examine the effects of this largely overlooked period in history.

As we continue to rely on technology and innovation in modern agriculture, it is important not to forget the lessons learned from the second agricultural revolution. Failure to do so could result in devastating consequences for both our environment and economy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the second agricultural revolution?

The second agricultural revolution refers to a period of significant agricultural development that took place in the late 19th and early 20th century resulting in advancements in farming practices and technologies.

2. What were the key features of the second agricultural revolution?

Some of the key features of the second agricultural revolution include the development of new farming machines and tools, the introduction of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, the breeding of high-yield crops, and the use of new irrigation systems.

3. How did the second agricultural revolution impact agricultural production?

The second agricultural revolution significantly improved agricultural productivity resulting in increased food production and decreased costs. It also led to the shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture.

4. What role did the second agricultural revolution play in the industrial revolution?

The second agricultural revolution played a critical role in the industrial revolution by providing the necessary food supplies for the rapidly growing urban populations and by freeing up labor from agriculture to work in factories.

5. Which countries played a significant role in the second agricultural revolution?

The second agricultural revolution was primarily concentrated in the United States, Canada, and Europe, including countries like the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

6. What is the legacy of the second agricultural revolution today?

The second agricultural revolution laid the foundation for modern agriculture and is still relevant today as it continues to influence agricultural practices and technologies.