4-H – is a national youth organization that prepares young people to step up to the challenges in their workplace, community, and the world. Administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture the United States Department of Agriculture with the mission of engaging youth to reach their fullest potential. The name includes four personal development areas of focus: head, heart, hands, and health. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs.

American Farm Bureau Federation – AFBF is the unified national voice of agriculture, working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.

Aquaculture – the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants.

Annual- is a plant that germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. In gardening, annual often refers to a plant grown outdoors in the spring and summer and surviving just for one growing season. Many food plants are, or are grown as, annuals, including almost all domesticated grains. Corn, wheat, rice, lettuce, peas, watermelon, beans, zinnia, and marigold are common examples.

‘Angel’ Donor – a wealthy individual who gives or gifts money towards an idea in return for a piece of the ownership.

Biennial – a plant that germinates one year, and sets seed and dies the second year.

Biodynamic – is an organic farming method that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. It has much in common with other organic approaches: the use of manure and compost, and excluding the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants.

Brownfield- sites are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use. The soils on brownfield sites are often contaminated with industrial, commercial, or residential waste. EPA grants are available to remediate these sites.

Business Plan – a document which outlines the mission, vision, goals, skills, assets, and liabilities of a business.

Business Succession – the process of inheriting, buying out, or purchasing an existing business in an orderly manner.

Calories- units of food energy measurement.

Cash Crop – an agricultural crop or product grown for direct sale, usually wholesale, and for profit.

Citizen Farmer- Thomas Jefferson’s concept of an ideal American citizen was an educated farmer. Considered to be the basis of a strong nation, the citizen farmer is a strong and healthy individual that makes a living through the practical agricultural arts and embracing environmental stewardship.

Chamber of Commerce- a non-profit community business network organized to further the interests of businesses within a region

Commercial- refers to a system of voluntary exchange or trade of goods, products, services, information or money to the market.

Commodity- a generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs.

Comprehensive Policy – combination of several coverages to protect the insured.

Commodities Market – the national or global marketplace for the sales of large commercial cash crops, commodities are tracked on the stock exchange i.e. corn, soybeans, rice.

Conventional Agriculture – used to describe a wide array of agricultural practices and philosophies, but generally emphasizing uniform high crop yields, profitability, labor efficiency, and new technologies.

CSA- a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the growers and consumers provide mutual support and share the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” cover, in advance, the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive percentage shares in the farm crops.

DBA – doing business as, this is the simplest way to set up a business and checking account for your farm, it requires only a visit to the county seat to ensure there are no other farms or businesses with that name and is prerequsite to getting farm insurance or selling at some farmers markets.

Extension- is a nationwide, non-credit educational network run by land grant institutions. Agents provide practical research-based education and consultation in; agricultural systems, animals, biotechnology & genomics, economics & community development, education, environment & natural resources, families, youth & community, food, nutrition & health, international, pest management, plants, technology & engineering.

Extension Agent – an employee of the national Cooperative Extension Service and an employee of a land grant university. They are typically assigned to an extension area of expertise and a territory (state, region, or county).

Ecosystem- is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) cycling nutrients and energy flow with non-living components of the environment (things like air, water and mineral soil).

Entrepreneur- an individual who develops financial and business expertise in order to create new economies, businesses, or goods for market.

Employer Identification Number – a tax number assigned by the federal government to each business that hires employees

Fallow- land purposely left out of active agricultural production and rotation for a time period

Farm to School – a program that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.

Ferment- a biologic and metabolic process where sugars are converted to cellular energy.

Farm Incubator Program – an educational program that offers aspiring or beginning farmers land, equipment, and support as they develop their new businesses.

Financing – the process of borrowing money for a set purpose.

FFA- The National FFA Organization (also known as Future Farmers of America) envisions a future in which all agricultural education students will discover their passion in life and build on that insight to chart the course for their educations, career and personal future.

Food Desert- an area where healthy, affordable food is difficult to attain. The term includes both rural and urban areas, and is associated with a variety of health and dietary problems, lack of access to grocery stores, and high food costs.

Food System- includes all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption, and disposal of food and food-related items. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs
generated at each of these steps like labor and electricity.

Germination- is the process by which plants, fungus and bacteria emerge from seeds and spores, and begin growth.

Grange- Also known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, the Grange is the oldest American agricultural society. Major objectives of the National Grange support stewardship of America’s natural resources; promotion of world-wide free trade; a combination of local and federal support for rural education, medical, communications, and road systems; nonpartisan political participation; assurance of safe and properly labeled food products; organization of cooperatives and other economic services to support rural Americans; and the elimination of direct government farm programs so as to assure a competitive and efficient farm system.

Heirloom- Heirloom plants are named after family heirlooms, they are usually varieties adapted for flavor, shape or regional climate adaptation — many are horticultural varieties best suited for gardens, not large scale operations. They have been chosen, bred and passed down for generations, usually because of their amazing taste or canning qualities, not for shipping or industrial processing. “ old time apples” can be bred for cider, cold storage etc.

Hoop House- a greenhouse with a plastic roof wrapped over flexible piping. Used to extend the farming season by providing a sheltered growing area.

Interest Rate- is the rate at which interest (a fee paid to borrow money) is measured by a borrower for the use of money that they borrow from a lender.

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)- a form of company that provides limited liability (legal responsibility) to individual members to help protect their personal property in case of business failure or lawsuits

Leasing – the process of paying for the use of an item, piece of land, or building for a set period of time.

Market Niche- defines the specific product features to satisfy a specific market needs and price range

Middleman- a company or individual that purchases goods or services with the intention of reselling them rather than consuming or using them.

Organic- includes foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers

Organic Agriculture – “Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved…”—International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

Permaculture- ecological design and engineering principles which develops a long-term and self- maintained agricultural system modeled on natural systems. The central ideas are around caring for the earth and the people who use and need it, as well as setting limits on population and consumption.

Perennial- a herbaceous plant that lives for more than two years.

Personal Liability- personal insurance purchased for protection.

Plant Propagation- the process of growing new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. It can also refer to natural or artificial dispersal of plants.

Partnership – a business owned and operated by multiple individuals or families

Retail – a form of marketing and purchasing where the seller provides a single or very few products to an individual customer at a higher = rate or cost due to the small purchased number.

Slow-Money – a financial and political movement which aims to organize investors and donors in order to support small businesses, individual projects, and community initiatives

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – a government sponsored educational outreach center that offers mentorship, business plan assistance, and networking

Schedule F – an agricultural tax form Sole Proprietorship – a business owned and operated by one individual or family

Stewardship – the conducting, supervising, and careful, responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.

Sustainable – of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

Value-Added- the process of modifying a basic product in order to increase the value of that product i.e. turning fruit into jams, turning milk into cheese, turning wood into furniture.

USDA – United States Department of Agriculture

Wholesale – a form of marketing and purchasing where the seller provides many products to an individual customer at a lower bulk rate of cost.


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