Agriculture, or Food Industry is a resource. It is produced by Farms on special maps with the Fertile lands resource.
Farms, Silos, Fertilizers
Very differently implemented than in SC4, farms and food finally have a purpose and a clear place in the economy. They are the only industry that requires a specific map, though - they need fertile land areas, so look for them when choosing a map for your city.
Farms are the only industry that is constructed as zones and has only one density. They are also constructed in a different way than other zones. To build a farm, choose one of the types displayed under Industry > Food industry. Then draw a zone into an arable land area (it appears highlighted), aiming to reach 100% size. Confirm. The resulting zone comes bordered with small farm roads and constitutes one Farm for tax and production purposes.
NOTE: A farm, without bonuses, regardless of its type, will either provide 0.2 tokens of Food if the farm's zoning size is 98% or smaller, or 0.3 tokens of Food of the farm's zoning size is 99% or 100%.
So make sure your farm size is exactly 99% or 100%, and never supersize past 100% to save space.
Note: you can control where the buildings of the farm appear: they are between the first and the last point you click. So, if you want your buildings, say, on the right side of the field, start at the top right corner, then click to the left, and then down and back right. Why this is important, you'll see later.
Every zone you draw becomes a single farm, with a large field and some buildings in one end of it. The type of farm is irrelevant, they all produce the same and require the same resources and conditions. The only difference I've found is that some types of farms need some more space than others.
All farms employ unskilled workers ONLY. So, if you're making a farm city, you'll need lots of those and little of the other classes. Also, Farms utilize lots of Water for irrigation, so you'll need this resource a lot more.
NOTE: All types of farms have the same effect: they require the same area, produce the same amount of resource, employ the same number of workers, etc. The farms differ only in textures and animation, and are:
- Market gardening
Silos and fertilizers
Those are special buildings for the farm industry that work on the 'chain' principle: you need to build 10 farms to unlock one silo, and 5 silo for a fertilizer. Every one of these boosts the production of the farms nearby. Where you place them has the utmost importance: every silo and fertilizer has limited range of effect, and the effect lessens the farther the silo/fertilizer. Also, keep in mind that they affect the BUILDINGS of the farm, not the field, so if the farm buildings are on the far side of the field, they'll get less benefit!
Silos and fertilizers also employ qualified and executives; they also benefit from freight services (unlike farms). Placement: it's much more important to place the silo/fertilizer in the perfect spot so as to affect as many farms as possible, than to place it on a road with good freight. In the first case you'll gain more than 100% boost from taxes from EVERY farm affected (since a farm normally pays around 60 - 80c, this means it could reach 200c, multiplied by 5 - 8 for each farm benefited), in the second case only the silo/fertilizer gets a boost in taxes, and that would be not more than 100 - 200c total. So, plan carefully and leave some small spaces for silo/fertilizer placement. Also, draw your farms in such a way that their buildings are as close to the silo/fertilizer as possible.
- Merchant Guild (special office, +35% production, 20000/mo)
- Institute of Agriculture (+40% farms production, +5% education; 40000/mo)
- Nutrition labs (+45% farms production, 60000/mo).
All of them are handy when you run out of arable land.
Positioning your farms, silos and fertilizers is the most important aspect of successful farming. Not only you need to pay attention to the arable fields (you can't build farms outside those), you also need to place strategically the silos and fertilizers. Good planning is the key here: also, don't be afraid to restructure later. And, you'll need lots of water (for irrigation ).