About 10,000 years ago we invented agriculture. The following quotes and proverbs all relate to agriculture and the cultivation of crops.

An Ethiopian farmer plowing his land

A dry March, a wet April and a cool May fill barn and cellar and bring much hay.

Traditional prediction of harvest according to the weather.

A hive of bees in May is worth a load of hay.

A lawsuit is a fruit-tree planted in a lawyer’s garden.

A lazy man's farm is the breeding ground for snakes.

African proverb

A patent on seeds is a patent on freedom. If you have to pay for patented seeds, it’s like being forced to buy your own freedom.

Ka Memong Patayan

A plant is like a self-willed man, out of whom we can obtain all which we desire, if we will only treat him his own way.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A reasonable agriculture would do its best to emulate nature. Rather than change the earth to suit a crop it would diversify its crops to suit the earth.

Verlyn Klinkenborg

A root, a stem, a leaf, some means of capturing sunlight and air and making food – in sum, a plant. The green substance of this earth, the chlorophyll, is all summed up in the plants. Without them we perish, all of us who are flesh and blood.

Hal Borland

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.

Gertrude Stein

A woman’s belly is a garden with many kinds of fruit.

A year of snow, a year of plenty.

Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.

Carl Sagan

African agriculture depends on labor. You can’t produce crops if there is nobody to work on the farms.

Annmarie Kormawa

After the First World War the economic problem was no longer one of production. It was the problem of finding markets to get the output of industry and agriculture dispersed and consumed.

John Boyd Orr

Agriculture engenders good sense, and good sense of an excellent kind.

Joseph Joubert

Agriculture for an honorable and highminded man, is the best of all occupations or arts by which men procure the means of living.


Agriculture is best, enterprise is acceptable, but avoid being on a fixed wage.

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.

Thomas Jefferson

Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man.

George Washington

Agriculture is the noblest of all alchemy; for it turns earth, and even manure, into gold, conferring upon its cultivator the additional reward of health.

Paul Chatfield

Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.

Samuel Johnson

Agriculture was the first manufacturing industry in America and represents the best of all of us.

Zack Wamp

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.

Thomas Jefferson

An agricultural life is one eminently calculated for human happiness and human virtue.

Josiah Quincy

As is the gardener, such is the garden.

Hebrew proverb

As the garden grows so does the gardener.

As you sow, so shall you reap.

You should accept the consequences of your own actions.

Because of technological limits, there is a certain amount of food that we can produce per acre. If we were to have intensive greenhouse agriculture, we could have much higher production.

Ralph Merkle

Before most people had ever tasted a potato, the Royal Society debated the practicality of making it a staple crop in Ireland (ironically, as a hedge against famine).

Seeing further: the story of science & the Royal Society
Bill Bryson

Black soil produces white bread.

Norwegian proverb

Blessed be agriculture! if one does not have too much of it.

Charles Dudley Warner

Bring diversity back to agriculture. That’s what made it work in the first place.

David R. Brower

Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

William Jennings Bryan

By increasing the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol and bio-diesel, and providing the Department of Energy with a budget to create more energy efficiency options, agriculture can be the backbone of our energy supply as well.

John Salazar

Consequently the student who is devoid of talent will derive no more profit from this work than barren soil from a treatise on agriculture.


Corn is a greedy crop, as farmers will tell you.

Michael Pollan

Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.

Thomas Jefferson

Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.

Deuteronomy 22:9

Eating is an agricultural act.

Wendell Berry

Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow — grow!’

The Talmud

Every garden may have some weeds.

English proverb

Every major food company now has an organic division. There’s more capital going into organic agriculture than ever before.

Michael Pollan

Everything in the garden is rosy.

Everything is satisfactory.

Farming is a most senseless pursuit, a mere laboring in a circle. You sow that you may reap, and then you reap that you may sow. Nothing ever comes of it.

Joannes Stobaeus

Farming is a profession of hope.

Brian Brett

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.

Dwight David Eisenhower

Farming was independently invented at least seven times—in China, the Middle East, New Guinea, the Andes, the Amazon basin, Mexico, and West Africa.

At Home
Bill Bryson

Fast food may appear to be cheap food and, in the literal sense it often is, but that is because huge social and environmental costs are being excluded from the calculations.

Prince Charles

Fast ripe, fast rotten.

For of all gainful professions, nothing is better, nothing more pleasing, nothing more delightful, nothing better becomes a well-bred man than agriculture.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.

You need to work to get results.

God Almighty first planted a garden.

Francis Bacon

Grass is the forgiveness of nature – her constant benediction. Forests decay, harvests perish, flowers vanish, but grass is immortal.

Brian Ingalls

Great oaks grow from little acorns.

Handsome cats and fat dungheaps are the sign of a good farmer.

French proverb

He has a green thumb.

He has a natural skill for gardening or to make plants grow,

He has green fingers.

He is green-fingered. He is good in making plants grow. A natural skill for gardening.

He’s sowing his wild oats.

Here Ceres’ gifts in waving prospect stand, And nodding tempt the joyful reaper’s hand.

Alexander Pope

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.

George Washington

I have always said there is only one thing that can bring our nation down – our dependence on foreign countries for food and energy. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy.

John Salazar

I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman’s cares.

George Washington

If in February there be no rain, ’tis neither good for hay nor grain.

If the rain spoils our picnic, but saves a farmer’s crop, who are we to say it shouldn’t rain?

Tom Barrett

If we estimate dignity by immediate usefulness, agriculture is undoubtedly the first and noblest science.

Samuel Johnson

If you tickle the earth with a hoe she laughs with a harvest.

Douglas William Jerrold

Imagine Italian food without tomatoes, Greek food without eggplant, Thai and Indonesian foods without peanut sauce, curries without chilies, hamburgers without French fries or ketchup, African food without cassava.

At Home
Bill Bryson
Effect of the distribution of new world crops

In Old Europe and Ancient Crete, women were respected for their roles in the discovery of agriculture and for inventing the arts of weaving and pottery making.

Carol P. Christ

It is now 14 years since I first suggested that organic farming might have some benefits and ought to be taken seriously. I shall never forget the vehemence of the reaction.. much of it coming from the sort of people who regard agriculture as an industrial process, with production as the sole yardstick of success.

Prince Charles

It is obvious that the greatest and most important service that is required of our agriculture under existing conditions is an enlarged production of the staple food crops.

David F. Houston

It is only by understanding the cultural complexity and largeness of the concept of agriculture that we can see the threatening diminishments implied by the term ‘agribusiness.’

Wendell Berry

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.

BC Forbes

It is the season not the soil that brings the crop.

Latin proverb

It is vitally important that we can continue to say, with absolute conviction, that organic farming delivers the highest quality, best-tasting food, produced without artificial chemicals or genetic modification, and with respect for animal welfare and the environment, while helping to maintain the landscape and rural communities.

Prince Charles

Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.

African proverb

Let the farmer forevermore be honored in his calling; for they who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God.

Thomas Jefferson

Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.

Henri Alain

Lower your head modestly while passing and you will harvest bananas.

Man’s survival, from the time of Adam and Eve until the invention of agriculture, must have been precarious because of his inability to ensure his food supply.

Norman Borlaug

Men make the earth black from green leaves.

Turkish proverb

Mock the palm tree only when the date harvest is over.

Most of us spend the first six days of each week sowing wild oats; then we go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.

Fred Allen

No one hates his job so heartily as a farmer.

H.L. Mencken

Organic farming has been shown to provide major benefits for wildlife and the wider environment. The best that can be said about genetically engineered crops is that they will now be monitored to see how much damage they cause.

Prince Charles

Our fathers used to say that the master’s eye was the best fertilizer.

Pliny the Elder

Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven – corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats – account for 93 percent of all that humans eat, and every one of them was first cultivated by our Neolithic ancestors.

At Home
Bill Bryson

Pray for miracles, but plant cabbages.

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett

Second to agriculture, humbug is the biggest industry of our age.

Alfred Nobel

Smoothly and lightly the golden seed by the furrow is covered.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So imagine a world 6 degrees warmer. It’s not going to recognize geographical boundaries. It’s not going to recognize anything. So agriculture regions today will be wiped out.

Steven Chu

Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.

J.W. von Goethe

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.


Tall oaks grow from little acorns.

Great things may come from small beginnings.

The diligent farmer plants trees, of which he himself will never see the fruit.

Latin: Abores serit diligens agricola, quarum adspiciet baccam ipse numquam.

The discovery of agriculture was the first big step toward a civilized life.

Arthur Keith

The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

Mark 4:28

The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.

Will Rogers

The farmer hopes for rain, the walker hopes for sunshine, and the gods hesitate.

Chinese proverb

The farmer works the soil. The agriculturist works the farmer.

Eugene F. Ware

The farmers are the founders of civilization.

Daniel Webster

The first and last profession: Agriculture!


The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.

German proverb

The gardener’s hands are black with earth but his loaves are white.

Albanian proverb

The grass is always greener on the other side.

The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

Milton Friedman

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its agriculture.

Thomas Jefferson

The heavier crop is ever in others’ fields.


The impact of climate change on agriculture could result in problems with food security and may threaten livelihood activities upon which much of the population depends.

Ian Pearson

The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The sluggard does not plow after the season, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.

Proverbs 20:4

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

Masanobu Fukuoka

The way of cultivation is not easy. He who plants a garden plants happiness.

Chinese proverb

The word agriculture, after all, does not mean ‘agriscience,’ much less ‘agribusiness.’ It means ‘cultivation of land’.

Wendell Berry

There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.

Benjamin Franklin

This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari

Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a harvest.

English proverb

Time spent in the cultivation of the fields passes very pleasantly.


To sell cucumbers to the gardener.

A useless act.

True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.

G. K. Chestertonx

Water is a finite resource that is essential in the advancement of agriculture, and is vital to human life.

Jim Costa

We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Native American

We used to be a nation of farmers, but now it’s less than two percent of the population in the United States. So a lot of us don’t know a lot about what it takes to grow food.

Judith Redmond

What are you picking now is that what you planted before.


When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.

Daniel Webster

With the advent of industrial farming and the green revolution, organic farming was relegated to the status of ‘quaint’ or ‘old-fashioned’.. something practiced by hippies on communes, certainly not by serious farmers.

David Suzuki

Without sowing a single wheat you would not harvest thousand ones.

You can make a small fortune in farming – provided you start with a large one.

Unknown source

You can never sow rice and expect to harvest maize.

You can't reap a field of grass one blade at a time.

World Without End
Ken Follett


If you are interested in agriculture and crops, you will also like the World Crops Database.

Farmer in Bangladesh