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Reading Practice: Intermediate Stories with Questions

Farmer in India


1. This farmer of northeast india is checking on a crop of lettuce. The lettuce will be harvested soon and taken to the street markets of Shillong where it is sold. The farmers of this area must continuously cultivate their crops in order to survive. In most cases, money from the crops is just enough to keep a family going. Farmers all over the world are dependent on the weather which dictates whether or not a crop will reach harvest. They have to save money from productive crops to cover times when the weather works against them.

2. In this area, farmers still use the "shifting cultivation" method. This is the method of burning a field about every ten years because this process causes the soil to gain important nutrients. Shifting cultivation can backfire when people are under stress and burn the field too often. In this case, the opposite result occurs: the soil loses nutrients. Unfortunately, farmers are often tempted to do this because they need money for life's necessities.

3. The farmers of northeast India will likely benefit from the new trend toward organic foods. As they have not shed their old methods, their farming is already organic by nature. Though there has been some overuse of shifting cultivation, the land has never been exposed to pesticides--which is a great benefit. The area only needs some guidelines for all farmers to follow in order to qualify as organic on the world market. This will lead to increased profits for the farmers.

4. The weather in this area seems ideal for farming. There is a rainy season and also a dry season which is actually so dry that fires burn in the forests and next to towns. Because the people allow these fires to burn, the vegetation remains under control. This means that the fires burn low to the ground and are not threatening. It is likely that farmers of the past saw these natural processes and mirrored them to create the shifting cultivation method.

Answer the Questions (answers are at the bottom of the page):

1. What is the main idea of this story?

A. The farms of northeast India are already organic.

B. Farmers in northeast India use a method called shifting cultivation.

C. Farmers in northeast India use shifting cultivation and can become completely organic farmers.

D. It is extremely hard to make money as a farmer.

2. Which statement is an inference, not a fact?

A. In this area, the people generally allow fires to burn.

B. Weather often dictates whether or not a crop will reach harvest.

C. There is a rainy season and a dry season in this area.

D. The northeast is one of the best areas for farming in India.

3. What is "shifting cultivation?"

A. the process of burning a field about every ten years

B. the process of letting natural fires burn

C. the process of using different fields for different crops

D. the process of moving from one field to another while harvesting crops

4. Why are the fires that happen during the dry season not threatening?

A. The people have methods for putting out fires quickly.

B. The people have always let fires burn which keeps vegetation low to the ground.

C. Even during the dry season, there is some rain, and fires do not get out of control.

D. Fires burn low to the ground because of wind currents in the area.

5. Why does the author write about fires that happen in the dry season?

A. To write about an interesting fact of the area.

B. To show that the people in the area should put out their fires instead of letting them burn.

C. To show how ancient farmers probably discovered shifting cultivation.

D. To show how the weather affects the land.

6. Match the words to their definitions:

cultivate                  a. to have authority over
dictate                     b. to remove
harvest                    c. to take care of
mirror                      d. to be similar or the same
shed                        e, to invite bad behavior
tempt                       f. to collect ripe food

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answers: 1. c, 2. d, 3. a, 4. b, 5. c, 6. cultivate: c, dictate: a, harvest: f, mirror: d, shed: b, tempt: e