India is an agricultural country not so much because agriculture gives more income than other activities but because about 60% of people still depend for their livelihood on agriculture. It also ensures food security for the country and produces several raw materials for industries. India is so diversified in geographical extent arid climate that there is no uniform form practices in the country but physical and human factors have played their respective roles to give rise to different types of farming in different parts of the country.
These also refer to the combination of products that a farmer may choose to produce during a particular crop season. However the main types of farming which are commonly practiced are:
(i) Specialised and Diversified Farming:
When farm enterprises are run by the farmer in which he has acquired special knowledge, it is known as specialized farming. The specialized farming refers to only one kind of farm business such as raising a dairy cattle. On the other hand when a farmer is engaged in a multitude of farm enterprises, it is diversified farming. These two types of farming point to different motives. The motive behind specialized farming is profit and the motive behind diversified farming is self- sufficiency.
(ii) Mixed Farming:
Mixed farming refers to the combining of two independent agricultural enterprises on the same farm and a typical case of mixed farming is the combination of crop enterprise with diary farming. Here farmer raises his livestock on the by-products of crop grown. A farmer utilizes the existing manpower and equipment and has not to incur any additional expenses, similarly by raising livestock he draws a number of benefits from it for crop cultivation. The mixed farming is more suited to densely populated developing countries like India.
(iii) Dry and Irrigated Farming:
Dry farming is practiced in these areas which are deficient in rainfall and have no assured source of artificial irrigation. On the other hand irrigated farming is practiced in those areas where assured water supply from artificial sources of irrigation is available. The dry land farming in India covers about 70% of the cropped area and accounts for about 40% of food grains output. The strategy of dry-land farming envisages both intensive and extensive approaches. The intensive approach aims at an integrated development of selected micro- watersheds through a multi-disciplinary approach including land and water management, crop protection horticulture, agro forestry, pasture development etc.
This refers to the practice of grazing animals on the public lands. In India this practice is prevalent in the hill regions which are rich in pastures and grazing lands. But ranching is slowly dying out in our country because of the growing pressure on public lands. It is still in practice in states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir etc.
(v) Plantation Farming:
This was introduced in India by Britishers in the 19th century. This type of agriculture involves growing and processing of a single cash crop purely meant for sale. This type of farming includes plantations of rubber, tea, coffee, banana etc. which is practiced mainly in Assam, sub- Himalayan, West Bengal and Nilgiri, Anaimalai, and Cardamom hills in the south.
(vi) Shifting Agriculture Farming:
This is a type of agriculture in which a piece of forest land is cleared by felling and burring of trees and crops are grown. After 2-3 years when the fertility of the soil decreases and it is abandoned. This type of farming is practiced in North-Eastern states of India. In this farming dry paddy, wheat, tobacco and sugarcane etc. are grown. This is also a very crude and primitive method of cultivation which results in large-scale deforestation and soil erosion especially on hill sides causing devastating floods in the plains below. About one million hectares of land is degraded every year due to shifting cultivation. Therefore, there is urgent need to put a check on this farm practice.