Exam-style Questions: Agriculture

  1. a) Describe and explain the distribution of different farming types in Britain.

    (6 Marks)

    b) Define the term commercial farming.

    (2 Marks)

    c) How do human factors influence farming?

    (4 Marks)

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    a) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks for mentioning the simple statements below. Your answer is most likely to be a list and will include little explanation:

    • In the upland areas of North West Scotland and Wales extensive hill sheep farming is common.
    • In the South East you find crop farming.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks for expanding the points above with some explanation:

    • In the upland areas of North West Scotland, Wales and the Lake District generally on the east of the country) there is mainly hill sheep farming, this is because of the harsh climate. The drier climate in the South East means that you find intensive crop farming.

    Give yourself 5 - 6 marks for detailed explanation of the points above and accurate use of good geographical terminology:

    • In the upland areas of North West Scotland, Wales and the Lake District (generally on the east of the country) there is mainly extensive hill sheep farming. This is because these areas are unsuitable for machines as they cannot cope with the steep slopes. The climate is harsher and the soils are thin and poor.
    • The drier climate and the flatter land as well as the fertile soil in the E.Anglia and SE England means that you find intensive cereal farming.

    (I would also expect you to include information about market gardening and dairying - see the revision notes for detail).

    (6 marks)

    b) Give yourself marks if you have mentioned the points below:

    • Commercial farming involves farming for a profit. The farmer grows crops or rears animals to sell for as much money as possible.
    • Two examples are cereal farms in central United States and pig farming in Denmark.

    (2 marks)

    c) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks if you have mentioned the points below. Your answer will most probably be a list, with little expansion or explanation.

    • The human factors that influence farming are such things as: market, transport, labour, government policies, capital, knowledge and skill.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks if you have expanded on the points above. I would expect you to give examples for these marks:

    • There are many human factors, which influence farming. The market is very important for the farmer; dairy farming is often near to good transport links and large urban markets as it was very important in the past to get the milk to the market as quickly as possible.
    • Capital or money is important in setting up a farm or running it, the most successful farmers will reinvest their profits into new machinery and technology.
    • Government and policies have a huge impact on farms. In Europe the CAP have meant that farmers are protected and that their produce will be bought, but some farmers have had to completely change what they are growing.

    (4 marks)

    (Marks available: 12)

  2. a) Farming can be seen as a system - put all the words associated with farming into one of the following four columns:

    Milking, milk, manure, knowledge, skills, government policies, soil.

    Inputs: Process: Outputs: Feedback:

    (4 Marks)

    b) What is the meaning of the term Subsistence Farming?

    (2 Marks)

    c) What is the meaning of the term Intensive Farming?

    (2 marks)

    d) Describe and explain the main features of a pastoral farm in Britain you have studied.

    (4 marks)

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    a) Give yourself half a mark for each of the words you correctly placed in the chart as below:

    Inputs: Process: Outputs: Feedback:
    Knowledge Milking Milk Manure
    Skills (Manure) (Knowledge)
    Government policies
    Soil

    (4 marks)

    b) Give yourself marks if you have mentioned any of the points below (it is always good to include an example in your answer):

    • Subsistence farming is when the farmers only produce enough to feed themselves and their family.
    • They do not have any produce to sell for profit.
    • Two examples are rice cultivation in South-East Asia and shifting cultivation in the Amazon rainforest.

    (2 marks)

    c) Give yourself marks if you have mentioned any of the points below (it is always good to include an example in your answer):

    • Intensive farms generally take up a fairly small area of land, but aim to have a very high output, through massive inputs of labour and capital.
    • These farms use machines and new technologies to become as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
    • Two examples are pig farming in Denmark and rice cultivation in South East Asia.

    (2 marks)

    d) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks if you have included the points mentioned below. Your answer is likely to be a list and will not include much explanation. (You can write about any pastoral farm you have studied as long as the facts are correct):

    • A pastoral farm I have studied is dairying on the Cheshire Plain. The main features are: Warm summers, mild winters, high rainfall and flat land.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks if you have expanded on the points above. You answer is likely to include explanation and detail:

    • A pastoral farm I have studied is dairying on the Cheshire Plain. The climate suits dairying - the summers are warm and the winters are mild, meaning that pasture is available all year long. High rainfall also encourages fast grass growth. The soil is fertile enough for good pasture, but not good enough for arable crops. The area has gently sloping hills, as cattle cannot cope with land that is too steep. This area is near to the urban markets of Manchester and Liverpool, this was important in a time before refrigerated transport.

    (4 marks)

    (Marks available: 12 marks)

  3. a) Describe and explain how governments have influenced farming.

    (5 Marks)

    b) What are the disadvantages of hedgerow removal?

    (3 Marks)

    (Marks available: 8)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    a) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks if you have mentioned the points below. Your answer will most probably be just a list with little explanation:

    • The EU has brought in many rules and regulations to try to help farmers in all of its member countries. It has introduced the CAP, with subsidies and quotas and surpluses.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks if you have expanded on any of the points above. You should give examples for these marks:

    • The EU has brought in many rules and regulations to try to help farmers in all of its member countries. Minimum pricing means that the farmer was guaranteed to receive a minimum price for their product. They also set prices lower than those of imports from outside the EU.
    • Quotas set a limit on how much one farmer could produce of a single product, meaning that the huge surpluses that had been building up did not occur.

    Give yourself 5 marks if you have expanded on most of the points above. You should give examples for these marks, and use good geographical language:

    • Subsidies were given to farmers to allow them to produce more crops. More recently the EU has realised that intensive farming was harming the environment and creating huge surpluses and so has now put a quota on the amount of a product on farmer can produce. This has lead many farmers to consider diversification.

    (5 marks)

    b) Give yourself marks if you have mentioned any of the following points:

    • Hedgerows are attractive and their removal changes the character of the landscape.
    • Hedgerows act as windbreaks and their roots hold soil - so their removal can cause soil erosion.
    • Hedgerows provide habitats for wildlife - their removal affects the food chain and puts species at risk.

    (3 marks)

    (Marks available: 8 marks)

  4. a) Explain some of the problems caused by agriculture in MEDCs.

    (6 Marks)

    b) Describe and explain the successes and failures of the Green Revolution.

    (6 Marks)

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 4

    a) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks if you have mentioned the points below. Your answer will most probably be a list, with little expansion or explanation:

    • Often farmers remove hedgerows, this can cause soil erosion. Pesticides and fertilisers have led to pollution.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks if you have expanded on any of the points above. You should give examples for these marks:

    • One of the main problems caused by agriculture is soil erosion it has a number of causes:
    • Deforestation removes the roots holding the soil together.
    • Ploughing compacts the ground and creates channels for rapid water flow, especially on slopes.
    • The removal of hedgerows makes the soil vulnerable to wind erosion
    • Overgrazing occurs when there are too many animals on an area of land; this means that the vegetation is removed faster than it can regrow.
    • Pollution has occurred because of the increased use of pesticides and fertilizers.

    Give yourself 5 - 6 marks if you have expanded on any of the points above. You should give examples for these marks. You would be expected to explain why the farmers cause these problems, and to use good geographical language:

    • Many farmers have removed trees to create more land in order to produce more crops - this deforestation removes the roots holding the soil together, and this leads to soil erosion.
    • The increased use of machinery especially on slopes in an up-and-down action compacts the ground and creates channels for rapid water flow.
    • Farmers have removed hedgerows to create larger fields, to increase their yield and because hedgerows are difficult to maintain - this makes the soil vulnerable to wind erosion, and also destroys habitats for wildlife.
    • The increased use of pesticides and fertilisers has led to air and water pollution, Chemicals used on the fields, are easily washed into rivers by rainwater and can seriously affect the fish, birds and plants of the river. They can also leach through the ground and into rivers. Fertilisers in water can cause rapid algae growth. This then can lead to the water being starved of oxygen so there is not enough for plants, and especially fish. This process is called eutrophication.

    (6 marks)

    b) Give yourself 1 - 2 marks if you have mentioned the points below. Your answer will most probably be a list, with little expansion or explanation:

    • The Green Revolution was the use of MEDC technology in LEDs in order to increase crop yields.
    • The advantages were that farmers could quickly produce greater amounts of crops.
    • The disadvantages were that the seeds were very expensive to buy and so poor farmers couldn't afford the new crops.

    Give yourself 3 - 4 marks if you have expanded on any of the points above. You should give examples for these marks:

    • The Green Revolution was the use of MEDC technology in LEDs in order to increase crop yields. New strains of crops were introduced.
    • Framers could increase their yields.
    • New industries set up making fertilizers
    • The HYVs have led to a more varied diet.
    • However many farmers cannot afford the machinery and pesticides required.
    • Many farmers do not want to take the risk.
    • Increased yields can make prices fall.

    Give yourself 5 - 6 marks if you have expanded on any of the points above. You should give examples for these marks. You would be expected to explain the advantages and disadvantages, to give a balanced argument and to use good geographical language:

    • The Green Revolution was the use of MEDC technology in LEDs in order to increase crop yields. New strains of crops were introduced. There were many successes but it also created a number of problems:
    • Farmers with increased incomes have had a better standard of living, and means that they can reinvest the money into new machinery.
    • New industries making fertilisers and pesticides have developed in rural areas. This has reduced the problematic rural-to-urban migration.
    • Technology has increased, as has the transport system in some rural areas.
    • Many farmers cannot afford the pesticides, fertilisers and machinery needed.
    • Poor farmers are reluctant to try new techniques, as they cannot afford to take the risk.
    • Too often the farmers have to borrow money to begin using the new technology - this has meant that they get into debt.
    • The technology needed is often inappropriate for the level of development - parts for engines and fuel isn't always available.
    • Increased yields can make prices fall and so poor farmers become even poorer.

    (6 marks)

    (Marks available: 12)