[Skill] Farming

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forums. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

This is where all lore articles are created, edited, noted on, and basically worked up. Feel free to comment, but please do so in the Lore Discussion forum, not here. Remember these lore articles are all WIP. Once the authors feel they are ready to be posted for Peer Review, they can be moved to the Peer Review forum. Lore articles should be a complete first draft before they goe to Peer Review.

Moderator: Scribes

[Skill] Farming

Postby Calla Davin on September 6th, 2019, 2:30 pm

Article: Farming
Author(s): Me!
Other development: Nope
Additional Info:

Peer Review Thread: Not applicable.
Founder Review Thread: Not applicable.

Synopsis: This article will cover all the basics of farming, which includes only crop production and land management. There will be a focus on both agriculture and aquiculture. This article won't cover specifics of agri/aquiculture (both are separate skills), but will instead focus on preparing land for growing and harvesting those crops. I also want to clarify the difference between gardening and farming here.

1. Overview:
Farming is the practice of cultivating the land to produce crops. It is different from gardening in that gardening is more small-scale. If questioning whether something qualifies as gardening or as farming, use this little phrase: big area farming, little area gardening. It is also different from animal husbandry, which would be the practice of raising and caring for animals or livestock. Lastly, farming is a skill boosted by the actual tending of the land and managing the farm itself, which differs from the agriculture skill. Agriculture is knowledge of the plants themselves and how they must physically be planted, fertilized, tended, and harvested.

Not all farmers farm crops and animals, though it is often beneficial to do so. Farmers that just grow crops are known as arable farmers while farmers that just raise livestock are known as pastoral farmers. Those that do both are mixed farmers.

Farming is a complex skill, requiring knowledge about not only plants and animals, but about land preparation, weather, and even construction. A good farmer will know what crops or animals suit their area best as well as how to take care of them in any situation. The larger the farm, the more business skills a good farmer will need: staff management, plot planning, price negotiation, and stocking are all key parts to becoming a successful large-scale farmer.

2. Pre-Requisite Skills:
  • Agriculture: the skill of learning to grow, manage, and harvest crops.
  • Aquiculture: depending on the area or plant life, using the skill of growing crops in or under water is also necessary.
  • Animal Husbandry: if a pastoral or mixed farmer, knowing how to take care of your animals is essential.
  • Wilderness Survival: if your farm is out on its own (especially when it is just beginning) then you will need to know how to survive. Make sure to check the lore page for what level of WS you need in your farm's area.

3. Steps for Farming:
  • What kind of farmer are you? As already covered, there are three types of farmers: arable (crops), pastoral (livestock), and mixed (both). Before anything else, one must decide what they will be farming. Deciding between pastoral and arable has a lot to do with the area that the farm will be located. Less nutritious soils aren’t conducive to crop growth, and, therefore, pastures would be more suitable to a farm in that area. Additionally, extreme climate (frequent flooding, long wet or dry seasons, strong winds, cold climates) lends itself to raising livestock rather than crops. Furthermore, if a farmer has fewer human resources then tending to large fields of crops would be substantially harder than tending to a large flock or herd.

    Another thing to think about when planning to be a farmer is whether one plans on roaming or not. Nomadic farming, like that commonly found among the Benshira, is farming that moves around. Though easiest with livestock, nomadic farming can be done with crops in order to save the nutrients in the soil. Sedentary farming is the opposite: farming in which people farm permanently in one location.

    The last thing to consider is whether one intends on farming for subsistence or commercial gain. A subsistence farmer has a smaller plot, because they only intend to live off their land rather than make money from it. A commercial farmer, on the other hand, intends on selling what they harvest to either get by or make a profit. This obviously will require a larger amount of land and resources, so it is important to plan ahead if one thinks they will expand their farm.
  • Choosing a Plot. If one is looking to start a new farm, they must take great care in picking out where their plot will be. Large-scale planting can’t happen just anywhere.

    Arable: On the most basic level, arable farmers will need slightly sloping land (which will help with water run-off), fertile soil, and moderate climate. In densely forested areas or jungles, crops would benefit from areas where they won’t be as disturbed; pick an area that is easily accessible and defendable, but still avoids some of the problems listed above.

    Pastoral: As previously stated, animals are hardier than crops. They can live in tougher climates and move if need be. Do, however, keep an eye out for things that will make it difficult to protect or harvest your livestock. Are predators common? If so, you will want to pick a plot that will be easily closed off and defendable. Alternatively, you can pick a larger plot and construct a larger structure to bring your animals to avoid danger. If your product will easily spoil, like dairy, then you will want to pick a plot closer to a market so as to avoid wasting all your hard work on spoiled products.

    What is Fertile Soil? There’s an easy way of determining if soil is fertile enough for planting. Uproot a plant that is already growing in the plot and examine its roots: if the roots are spread out and the soil easily crumbles away, then the soil should be fertile. Additionally, turning over some soil to reveal fungi or bugs is a good sign as well. Even simpler than that would be checking the soil color: dark soil means that there is typically better nutrition and organic matter in the soil. If wildlife doesn’t want it, neither do you!

    Price list for land prices.
  • Preparing Your Plot. Now that you have your plot all picked out, you still must make it a farm. Evaluate your needs and the amount of space you have. You’re going to need, at minimum, a place to live and a place to store your tools. Another thing to consider if your area does not get frequent enough rains: where will your irrigation system go? What type of irrigation system will you use?

    Irrigation Systems: For smaller farms, carrying buckets from a nearby well or water source will be time consuming but effective. This will, however, involve digging a well if you aren't near a water source. Larger farms require the transportation of water from its source to the plots. Typically, farms are either irrigated through the flooding of the field or through the channeling of water between crop rows. To do this, a farmer can choose to build aqueducts to bring steady amounts of water down from higher bodies of water or ice caps. This will take quite a bit of time and planning, and will need help from someone with the necessary construction and mathematics skills. Similarly, a farmer may choose to build a series of canals to bring a body of water on relatively the same level as the farm to the plot. Though this will take fewer resources, building canals will take a similar level of planning and execution time. Another primary option would be to build a man-made body of water, such as a lake or pond. This can work with a dam in order to supply water to an entire farm. No matter what irrigation technique is chosen, all require forethought and time to set up.

    Price list for prices of structures.
  • Maintaining Your Plot. The everyday running of a farm includes both physical working of the land as well as planning on how the land will be worked in the future. For example, animals will graze only the plants that they enjoy most in their pasture. Over time, this will cause those plants to be stunted from constant grazing while other plants that the animals do not favor will become overgrown. This requires a watchful farmer who knows when to rotate a herd to a different pasture so that each pasture's vegetation can remain healthy. Other tasks to consider when maintaining a farm are as follows:
    • Weed management: how will you get rid of pesky, often harmful, undergrowth? Common techniques include burning, using animals to "mow," or regular, manual pulling.
    • Predators: checking for predators daily by examining injured flock or damaged property is essential to maintaining a healthy herd. How will you prevent or deal with predators? Common techniques include keeping guardian animals,building physical barriers, keeping areas well-lit at night, and moving weakened or young animals inside at night. Keep in mind that herbivores can also lay siege to vegetation, so those "predators" must be dealt with as well.
    • Feeding animals and maintaining soil health: if there is a cold season when animals must be brought indoors, a farmer must grow food to preserve for the animals to eat during that season. Growing the same type of crop on the same plot will similarly kill off the soil, so planning when crops will rotate through different plots is also essential.
    • Food preservation and storage: once harvested, what are you going to do with your crops? Sell them immediately? Dry them? Where will they be put, and how much will you keep for yourself?

4. Related Skills:
  • Gardening
  • Planning
  • Beekeeping
  • Botany
  • Construction
  • Food Preservation
  • Organization

5. Skill Progression:
  • Novice: The novice should have a good understanding of how to till land, though they won't be able to produce perfect plots; their rows will be wobbly and uneven. They know how to tell if soil is generally fertile, but they may not be able to determine how fertility in varying weather conditions. A novice farmer will still need help with determining proper irrigation systems, crop types, and planting/harvesting schedules. Novice farmers cannot run their own farms yet; any sort of problem (such as drought, flooding, famine, or infestation) will be completely beyond a novice farmer's expertise and would cripple their produce. Novice farmers are most likely ranch hands or apprentices to more well-trained farmers.
  • Competent: A competent farmer will be more skilled at land preparation, though they are far from perfect; they can prepare one type of irrigation system on their own, though it may need frequent repairs. They are more prepared for problems, but only because they understand more ways of preventing such problems. If something like an infestation or infection were to hit, they would still lose a good majority of their stock. Competent farmers are well-equipped to run their own small-scale farm. They are able to feed themselves and their families off of the land, but they are not yet capable of becoming commercial farmers.
  • Expert: Expert farmers are highly skilled in land preparation, knowing how to properly till, irrigate, and propagate in most conditions/areas. They not only know how to prepare for problems, but how to keep most of their crop and flock alive through any problems that may arise. These farmers can feed themselves and their families off of the land, but they can also manage and maintain large commercial farms.
  • Master: Master farmers can run their own farm in biomes where farms may not seem possible: tundra, dessert, mountainsides...all are areas where a master farmer can figure out ways to grow and herd. A master farmer would know how to manage multiple farms, even if those farms are off-site. A master farmer should also be a master in at least agriculture and animal husbandry as well; they are now skilled in combining crops to create new strains that are resistant to issues such as drought or infestation.
User avatar
Calla Davin
Retired Staff
Posts: 128
Words: 102738
Joined roleplay: June 25th, 2019, 7:44 am
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 1
Featured Thread (1)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests