Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ag & Livestock in Mexico

Yesterday I was discussing the book Creatures of Empire with livestock extension specialist, Dr. Derrell Peel. I noted to Derrell that early colonists considered the raising of livestock to promote civility. Making a profit off an animal required diligent care, so someone able to perform this feat was obviously a diligent worker. Owning livestock was a sign of class.

Derrell noted a similar cultural arrangement in Mexico, where he has traveled and researched extensively. In Mexico, the word "agriculture" does NOT include livestock. Agriculture simply refers to crops. Owning livestock is a sign of class and wealth in Mexico, while farming crops is a sign of poverty. The rich do not raise crops, they raise cattle.

So if you are in Mexico and wish to discuss livestock, the phrase "animal agriculture" or "livestock agriculture" may confuse the listener, and the word "agriculture" does not include farm animals.