subsistence farming


Definition of subsistence farming

1 : farming or a system of farming that provides all or almost all the goods required by the farm family usually without any significant surplus for sale
2 : farming or a system of farming that produces a minimum and often inadequate return to the farmer

called also subsistence agriculture

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Other Words from subsistence farming

subsistence farmer noun

Examples of subsistence farming in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Curtis-Summers and her team found that during the site’s subsistence farming period (roughly 550 to 700 A.D.), its Pictish inhabitants dined primarily on barley, beef, lamb, pork and venison. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why These Ancient Scottish Seafarers Didn’t Snack on Fish," 11 May 2020 While some people can fall back on subsistence farming, the upcoming dry season will reduce agricultural production and worsen their economic situation. Jack Losh, National Geographic, "Beloved silverback gorilla killed by poachers in Uganda," 12 June 2020 Nor is air-conditioning an option for most people in the poorer, high-risk countries where subsistence farming remains common. Nina Lakhani, Wired, "It's Not Just the Extreme Heat. It's the Extreme Humidity," 16 May 2020 Centuries on, families living just inside mita areas consume 25% less than those just outside them, are less educated and rely more on subsistence farming. The Economist, "To good effect Melissa Dell wins the John Bates Clark medal," 30 Apr. 2020 Large, healthy and diverse habitats with fewer borders on human populations would help, the researchers said, coupled with economic development so that families would not have to take over forest land for subsistence farming. Catrin Einhorn, New York Times, "Animal Viruses Are Jumping to Humans. Forest Loss Makes It Easier.," 9 Apr. 2020 Its economy, long based on subsistence farming and fishing, now includes a modest tourism industry. Freda Moon, New York Times, "Mexico’s Last Countercultural Coast," 3 Feb. 2020 People working in the subsistence farming or informal sector of the economy are among Mexico’s poorest citizens and are especially reliant on remittances from the U.S. to pay for basic essential needs. Fox News, "Mexican migrants sent record $36B in remittances in 2019," 14 Feb. 2020 About two-thirds of the country’s 2.2 million people live in rural villages, and many survive off subsistence farming. Loni Prinsloo And Janice Kew/ Bloomberg, Time, "One of the Poorest Countries in Africa Wants to Send Its Legal Marijuana All Over the World," 19 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsistence farming.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of subsistence farming

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for subsistence farming

Time Traveler

The first known use of subsistence farming was in 1892

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Statistics for subsistence farming

Last Updated

24 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Subsistence farming.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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