The economic activities of North America are extraordinarily diverse. The United States and Canada have sophisticated modern economies. Modernization has been uneven in Mexico, with major developments in power, transport, and manufacturing undercut by chronic inflation and a staggering burden of debt.
Farming is relatively more important in Mexico than in the other North American countries and provides employment for about 25 per cent of the labour force (compared with some 3 per cent in the United States and 5 per cent in Canada). Subsistence farming is still important throughout Mexico, especially in the south; commercial agriculture is well developed in many areas, however, particularly in the central plateau and in the north. The leading commodities are maize, wheat, and beans, which are raised mostly for domestic consumption, and cotton, cattle, coffee, and sugar, which are produced largely for export.
Agriculture in the United States and Canada is dominated by highly mechanized farms, which produce immense quantities of crops, livestock, and livestock products. The Great Plains of the central United States and the Canadian Prairie provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan) are major world producers of grain (particularly wheat, but also barley, oats, rye, and grain sorghum), oilseeds, and livestock (dairy and beef cattle and sheep). Perhaps the world's finest large farming area is the Corn Belt, that part of the US Middle West from western Ohio to eastern Nebraska, which is the world's largest producer of maize, as well as a major supplier of other grains, soya beans, cattle, and pigs. Farming in California yields a huge amount of high-value irrigated crops, notably fruits and vegetables. Florida and Texas are also great producers of fruits and vegetables, and potatoes are grown in vast quantities in Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, Maine, North Dakota, and south-eastern Canada. Other outstanding agricultural products include cotton, broiler chickens, dairy products, and sugar cane. "North America" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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