Accredited Herd– A herd of dairy cattle certified by two successive tests to be free of tuberculosis. These tests are conducted by the USDA.
Acre– A common unit of measure of land. An acre is 43,560 square feet, or 0.04048 hectares.
Agronomy– A scientific discipline related to the production of agricultural crops.
American Brahman– The first beef breed developed in the United States. The breed was developed from Bos indicus (cattle of India) types imported into the United States between 1854-1926. The breed is well known for its environmental adaptivity, longevity, mothering ability, and efficient beef production.
American Landrace– A breed of white hogs developed in the United States from Denmark’s famous Danish Landrace breed.
Angus– An English breed of beef cattle introduced to the United States from its native Scotland in 1873. There are two separate registries of Angus, red and black Angus. The breed is known for its ease of calving, mothering ability, and its lean meat.
Anhydrous Ammonia– A common form of nitrogen fertilizer. Chemical structure NH3. It has a high affinity for water. Anhydrous means “without water”.
Anther– The male reproductive structure that produces pollen in plants.
Barrow– A male hog that is castrated.
Berkshire– A breed of swine that originated in Berks, England. Introduced to the United States in 1823.
Biennial– Plants that require two growing seasons to complete their life cycle.
Biodynamic– A farming practice that combines organic methods, including crop rotation and composting.
Biotechnology– The use of taking genes from one organism and inserting them into the DNA of another organism. Also known or used interchangeably with terms such as bioengineering, genetic modification, and genetic engineering.
Boar– A male swine with his reproductive parts that has reached sexual maturity.
Brown Swiss– Breed of dairy cattle that originated in Eastern Switzerland. The breed comes in various shades of brown.
Bull– A male bovine that has his reproductive parts and is used as breeding stock.
Bull Calf– A male calf that has not been castrated.
Bushel– A dry measurement commonly used in crops. In the United States, a bushel equals 4 pecks, or 2150.42 cubic inches. A bushel of apples is 42 pounds.
Cellulose– A major component in the cell wall of plants.
Center Pivot– A type of sprinkler system used in large farming operations. Water is delivered to the center of the field by a buried pipe, which is attached to a main pipe that is supported by wheel towers and pivoted around the field 360 degrees.
Cereal Grains– Plants of the grass family that produce grain (seeds). Some examples are wheat, rice, barley, oats, corn, and rye.
Certified Naturally Grown– A non-profit organization that supports smaller local farmers that cannot afford to participate in the national organic certification program.
Certified Organic– Describes four classifications for organic food that meet strict standards set forth by the USDA National Organic Program.
Certifying Agent– Certifying agents are associated with independent organizations who visit organic farms to ensure that USDA NOP standards are upheld.
Chester White– A breed of hogs originated in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Chromosome– A structure in plants and animals that carries genes.
Combine– A machine that is an all-in-one harvester and thresher.
Composting– Compost is composed of organic matter that is recycled back into the earth. Organic matter includes lawn clippings, vegetable scraps, and untreated papers.
Conservation Reserve Program-A federal program in which producers voluntarily retire environmentally sensitive crop land for 10 to 15 years in return for annual rental payments from the government.
Controlled Atmosphere– A controlled atmosphere storage is a technology which controls gases in the atmosphere of cold storage to greatly prolong the life of fruit.
Cotyledon– An embryo or seed leaf.
Cover Crop– A crop grown to protect soil from erosion or nutrient leaching.
Crop Rotation– A system of planting where crops vary from season to season.
DDT– Chemically known as Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, used as an insecticide.
Deciduous– A plant that sheds all its leaves (usually in the fall).
Defoliant– A chemical that causes leaves to wither and die on plants.
Diazinon– An organophosphate insecticide.
Dicot– Seeds that have two cotyledons.
Dormant– Seeds that fail to germinate even though environmental conditions for germination are adequate.
DNA– Genetic makeup (deoxyribonucleic acid).
Drip Irrigation– A system for irrigating crops by delivering water to the root zone through small, plastic pipes. The water is delivered close to the plant conserving water and eliminating soil erosion.
Endosperm– Tripliod tissue of seeds composed mostly of starch-containing cells, that arised from the fusion of sperm nucleus with two polar nuclei of the embryo sac.
Enzyme– A protein, or combination of individual proteins, that catalyzes a biochemical reaction.
Extension Agent– An employee of the Cooperative Extension Service.
Factory Farm– A large industrialized farm.
Fallow– Idle crop land that is out of production to conserve moisture for future use and for weed control.
Fair Trade– In order for an item to bear a fair trade label, they have to be produced in a way which assures that farmers are paid better-than-conventional prices, are trained on sustainable agriculture practices, work directly with food cooperatives, and are often organic.
Feed Grains– Grain that is grown to feed animals.
Field Crops– Crops that are grown at a larger scale.
Flood Irrigation– A type of irrigation in which fields are flooded with water.
Forage– Plants (other than feed grains) that are grown for animal feed.
Free Range– Describes producing animals (and poultry in particular) in a way which they have access to outside spaces and are permitted to graze or forage for food freely.
Fructose– Chemically fructose is a 6-carbon sugar.
Fungicide– A pesticide that is used to kill a fungus.
Furrow– A narrow grove in the soil made by a plow.
Gelding– A castrated male horse.
Gene– A sequence of DNA that is related to a particular trait.
Genetic Engineering– The use of biotechnology to alter genetic code.
Genetically Modified Organism– A plant, animal, or microorganism that is transformed by genetic engineering. Commonly referred to as a GMO.
Germination– The process within a seed that leads to visible penetration of the seed coat by the radicle.
Hampshire– A black hog with a white belt over the shoulders. One of the oldest breeds in the United States, although its origins are unknown.
Haylage– Livestock feed produced by acid-producing fermentation of grass or alfalfa.
Heifer– A young cow that has not yet given birth to a calf.
Heirloom– An antique variety of a plant popular in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, the seeds of which have been passed down from generation to generation.
Hectare– The most commonly used measure of agricultural land in the metric system. A hectacre equals 10,000 square meters (or 2.471 acres).
Herbicide– A pesticide used to kill plants.
Hereford– A breed of beef cattle identified with white faces and a distinctive red body.
Hillside Combine– A combine with a self-leveling mechanism that keeps the harvesting platform capable of efficiently collecting the crop for harvest.
Hybrid– The offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties (an example for be a mule).
Horticulturist– Someone who practices the science and art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants.
Humus– The result of organic material being decomposed into a dark soil-like material that contains plant nutrients.
Hundredweight– Commonly seen as cwt., it is a weight equal to 100 pounds US and 112 pounds in Great Britain.
Insecticide– A pesticide used to kill insects.
Integrated Pest Management– A socially acceptable, environmentally responsible, and economically practical system of crop protection from pests. The system emphasizes using a mixture of biological controls and chemical controls in a balanced manner.
Internode– A section of stem between nodes.
Jack– A male donkey.
Jenny– A female donkey.
Jersey– A breed of cattle identified for its light brown color with pronounced bone structure.
Legume– A member of the pea family. This family includes many plants grown for food or livestock storage (examples are alfalfa, clover, beans, and peas).
Limousin– A French breed of cattle.
Lodging– A description for when plants become permanently bent over at the stem. Often a result of heavy winds.
Mad Cow Disease– Scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Maine-Anjou– A breed of beef cattle that originated in southern France. The breed is identified by its reddish color with white spots.
Mitochondria– The location in cells where respiration occurs.
Monocot– Seeds that have one cotyledon.
Mule– A hybrid animal resulting in the crossing of a mare (female horse) and a jack (male donkey).
Natural– By definition, natural foods do not contain additives or preservatives but ingredients may have been grown using conventional farming methods or genetically engineered grain. Natural products are not regulated.
Nitrogen– A gaseous chemical element which make up 78 percent of the earth’s atmosphere by volume.
Nitrogen Fixation– The biological conversion of atmospheric nitrogen to a form that is readily available by plants.
Node– A portion of a stem at which leaf sheaths, petioles, or flowers are attached.
Nodule– Swelling of the root cortex of legumes, containing nitrogen fixing bacteria.
Orchardist– A person who grows fruit trees.
Organic Farming– Produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.
Paraben-Free– Used to describe products that do not contain parabens, which are chemical preservatives.
Pesticide– A chemical used to kill pests. Three of the most used categories of pesticides are herbicides (plants), insecticides (insects), and fungicides (fungus).
pH– A measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. A soil pH of 7 is considered neutral. A soil with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic. A soil with a pH above 7 is considered alkaline.
Phloem– Vascular plant tissue through which dissolved food is transported through plants.
Photosynthesis– The process by which plants use light energy to make sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
Piedmontese– A breed of beef cattle that originated in Italy.
Pith– The central tissue of stems and roots.
Polled– In the cattle industry, the terms usually means a naturally hornless cattle.
Pulse Crop– A food legume, or the seed of a food legume.
Rhizome– An underground horizontally grown stem.
Ribonucleic Acid– Involved in the transfer of a growing protein chain in or on the ribosome.
Row Crops– Crops grown in rows far enough apart to be mechanically cultivated. Common examples are corn, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and many others.
Sheath– Lower part of a monocot leaf.
Shorthorn– A breed of cattle raised in the United States primarily for beef. There are also milking shorthorns.
Side Roll– A type of sprinkler system in which long sections of pipe are supported on wheels with the capability of rolling sideways from setting to setting.
Silage– Livestock feed produced by acid-producing fermentation of feed stuffs.
Simmental– Among the oldest and most widely distributed cattle breeds in the world.
Small Grains– A description of crops such as barley, oats, rye, triticale, and wheat.
Spores– A reproductive cell.
Sow– Adult female swine
Spring Wheat– Wheat that is planted in the spring and harvested in the summer of the same year.
Stallion– A male horse that has not been castrated.
Stamen– The male reproductive structure of a flower.
Steer– A castrated male bovine.
Stolon– A horizontal stem that grows above ground.
Stud– An intact male horse used for breeding.
Sucrose– The sugar that is translocated through the phloem of most plants.
Sustainable Agriculture– Although there is not a concrete definition, sustainable agriculture is a concept that describes agricultural management practices that are profitable, environmentally sounds, and socially acceptable.
Swine– Another name for the animal for commonly known as a pig.
Trickle Irrigation– A system for irrigating crops that delivers water to the root zone through small plastic pipes. This system of irrigation is also known as drip irrigation.
Wagyu– A word that refers to all Japanese beef cattle.
Winter Wheat– Wheat that is planted in the fall and harvested the summer of the following year.