Difference Between Farm Vs Plantation

Life is like a game of Tetris, it can go so well but a small mistake can ruin the whole game. So does the usage of words. Many people, even farmers still often get confused with the difference in some words related to the agricultural field. In this article, I will focus on distinguishing 2 popular words: farm vs plantation.

A farm

a farm

A farm is an area of land and its buildings that is devoted chiefly to agricultural processes with the main purpose of producing food and other crops. 

The name is used for loads of specialized units ranging from arable farms, vegetable farms, fruit farms to dairy, livestock and poultry farms, and land used for the assembly of natural fibers, fuel, and other commodities. Some farms may not use the word at all and several farms may be denoted by their topographical location. 

Let’s take a look at some types of farms below:

  • An orchard: produces fruits or nuts
  • A vineyard: produces grapes
  • A truck farm: produces vegetables and flowers
  • A hill farm: primarily rears sheep in an upland area
  • A stable: raises and trains horses
  • A dairy farm: produces milk and dairy products
  • A ranch: animals are raised for meat
  • A plantation: a large farm growing cash crops such as cotton or coffee

A farm may produce one or many kinds of products and can be owned and operated by an individual, family, community, or corporation. It can have any size from a fraction of a hectare up to several thousand hectares. Instead of food production, many farms primarily exist for research or education, such as an ant farm.

History of farm

Farming first began in the Fertile Crescent by domesticating livestock. About 12,000 years ago, hunter-gatherer ancestors switched to food production rather than food capture, breeding both animals and plants and creating new varieties and breeds. Eventually, they migrated outward, spreading farming to different parts of the world.

Nowadays, people specialize in the crops or livestock best suited to the region, then their products being sold for the retail market or being traded around the world.

Modern systems of mechanization play an important role in the farm of developed countries. In the US, applications of mechanization into crop and livestock production lead to a great reduction in the number of agricultural workers needed. 

Furthermore, farming used to be dominated by family farms but now larger production units are taking over in Europe. In developing countries, 70% of rural citizens are subsistence farmers, feeding their own families, and selling surplus products in the local markets.

If you are a farmer, check now this ultimate list of gifts for a farmer who has everything.

A plantation

A plantation is a large-scale farm, on which a particular type of crop is grown. Crops grown on plantations include cocoa, sugarcane, coffee, tea, cotton, sisal, oil seeds, oil palms, rubber trees, and fruits. 

A plantation house is privately owned, which serves as a symbol for the plantation as a whole. Farm or home plantations are normally founded for the timber and firewood production for home use or for sale. This type of plantation requires less intensive than with industrial plantations.

The tree species used in a plantation is an important feature. Teak or bamboo plantations are established to protect native species and promote forest regeneration on degraded lands as a tool to restore the environment.

History of plantation

The earliest examples of plantations were from the Iatifundia of the Roman Empire. These plantations primarily produced large quantities of wine and olive oil for export. Since European demand for tobacco, cotton, and sugar increased, plantation agriculture grew rapidly and needed more slaves to harvest the crops.

Like economic activity, the plantation has changed its structure over time. In the past, there are large differences in the forms of plantation agriculture: wealth and income, foreign ownership and political influence, indentured labor, and slavery. Nowadays, most planters tend to switch from exclusive tobacco cultivation to mixed-crop production.

Difference between farm vs plantation



– An area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals or for aquaculture.

– More than one animal or crop is raised or grown

– Require a few hired hands

– For food production

– A large-scale farm grows primarily cotton, tobacco, sugar, cocoa, coffee, rubber trees, etc.

– Often monocultures, only one kind of crop is grown

– Require considerable numbers of workers and arduous levels of labor

– For agricultural purposes, erosion control, landslide stabilization and windbreaks


Both farms and plantations have significant roles in our lives. While many people stick to farm for food production, others establish plantations for commercial objectives and for environmental restoration. Hope you have a clear distinction of farm vs plantation and will no longer mistake them.