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​Agriculture encompasses crop and livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry for food and non-food products.[1] Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. While humans started gathering grains at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers only began planting them around 11,500 years ago. Sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle were domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. In the 20th century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monocultures came to dominate agricultural output.

​North Yorkshire is a ceremonial county in the Yorkshire and the Humber and North East regions of England. It borders County Durham to the north, the North Sea to the east, the East Riding of Yorkshire to the south-east, South Yorkshire to the south, West Yorkshire to the south-west, and Cumbria and Lancashire to the west. Northallerton is the county town.

The county is the largest in England by land area, at 8,654 km2 (3,480 sq mi), and had a population of 1,158,816 in 2021. The largest settlements are Middlesbrough (148,215) in the north-east and the city of York (141,685) in the south. Middlesbrough is part of the Teesside built-up area, which extends into County Durham and has a total population of 376,663 in 2011. The remainder of the county is rural, and the largest towns are Harrogate (75,515) and Scarborough (59,505). For local government purposes the county comprises four unitary authority areas — Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, Redcar and Cleveland, and York — and part of a fifth, Stockton-on-Tees. The local authorities of York and North Yorkshire are part of a combined authority of the same name, and the local authorities of the other three areas are part of the Tees Valley combined authority. The county was historically part of Yorkshire.

The centre of the county contains a wide plain, called the Vale of Mowbray in the north and Vale of York in the south. The North York Moors uplands lie to the east, and south of them the Vale of Pickering is separated from the main plain by the Howardian Hills. The west of the county contains the Yorkshire Dales, an extensive upland area which contains the source of the River Ouse/Ure and many of its tributaries, which together drain most of the county before reaching the Humber estuary in the south. The Dales also contain the county's highest point, Whernside, at 2,415 feet (736 m).