I have this sentence: Many wheat farmers have begun to diversify into other forms of agriculture.

And I struggle to understand the meaning of "diversify" here. Does this sentence mean that they stopped to grow wheat and switched to other forms of agriculture or that they expanded their work and now grow wheat and also other plants?

Thank you.

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  • It's a word with diverse meanings (and loaded with political implications). – Hot Licks Dec 28 '17 at 13:51

See the first definition of diversify at Cambridge dictionary:

to start to include more different types or things.

Diversify means as the definition mentions 'include more different types' , so these are in addition to what were previously already included.

In your example sentence, the meaning is that ,in addition to wheat, farmers are now working with other forms of agriculture.


They expanded their work and now grow wheat and also other plants.

Is the correct interpretation.

  • 1
    Thank you! I just really needed to hear that from a real person. – VictoriaJen Dec 28 '17 at 14:13
  • Except, if you are talking about farmers collectively who traditionally farmed a region where wheat was the primary cash crop, diversified can also be used to describe individual farmers who switch completely. The region has begun to diversify, the farming has begun to diversify, the economy has begun to diversify. As Hot Licks indicated, this is a term favored by speech-givers, probably because of it's vaguely optimistic tone. – Phil Sweet Dec 28 '17 at 15:17
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    @PhilSweet If you have a better answer post it. I don't recognize your suggested meaning at all. "start to include more different types", has a very clear meaning to me. Do you have any additional sources, which support your reading? That diversifying actually means to completely stop one thing and start another? – Gary Dec 28 '17 at 15:20
  • As long as your entire post concerns farmers as a collective group, and is understood as saying nothing about individual farmers, then it is fine. I can't remove downvote now unless you make an edit. Setting 'that in addition to wheat' with commas in para 3 would help. The issue isn't about the definition of diversity, but whether, or how, the idea distributes through a collective group. If you make an edit, I'll delete downvote and comments. – Phil Sweet Dec 28 '17 at 15:36
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    I've said all I have to say in response to you here @PhilSweet so will leave my comments there. – Gary Dec 28 '17 at 15:37

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