Glossary and Listserv Info.
Design, development, and management of sustainable agroecosystem based on the application of ecological principles while considering existing social, cultural, and economic factor of farming communities. [USDA]
Study of interrelationships of living organisms with each other and with their environment in an agricultural system. [UC Davis Extension]
Production methods other than energy- and chemical-intensive one-crop (monoculture) farming. Alternatives include using animal and green manure rather than chemical fertilizer, integrated pest management instead of chemical pesticides, reduced tillage, crop rotation (especially with legumes to add nitrogen), alternative crops, or diversification of the farm enterprise. [USDA Ag Fact Book]
A type of organic farming system developed by Austrian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900’s. Biodynamic farming takes into consideration both biological cycles and also “dynamic” – metaphysical or spiritual – aspects of the farm, with the intent of achieving balance between physical and non-physical realms. [UC Davis Extension]
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation – A facility where large numbers of farm animals are confined, fed, and raised such as cattle feedlots, hog production facilities, and closed poultry houses. [USDA]
A crop grown to prevent soil erosion by covering the soil with living vegetation and roots that hold on to the soil. Cover crops are also grown to help maintain soil organic matter and increase nitrogen availability (green manure crop) and to “hold on” to excess nutrients still in the soil following an economic crop. Other benefits include weed suppression and attraction of beneficial insects. [UC Davis Extension]
Genetically Modified Food
Foods produced from genetically modified organisms. These species have undergone directed modification of their genes using such techniques as altering DNA, substituting genetic material by means of a virus, transplanting whole nuclei, transplanting cell hybrids, etc. [USDA]
An organism that has been genetically altered through the transfer of DNA from another organism, resulting in expressions of new characteristics in the recipient. [UC Davis Extension]
Grass Fed Livestock
Meat animals raised primarily on ranges rather than in a feedlot. [Natl. Ag Library]
American Grassfed Association defines grassfed products from ruminants, including cattle, bison, goats and sheep, as those food products from animals that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from birth to harvest. [americangrassfed.org]
For grassfed non-ruminants, including pigs and poultry, grass is a significant part of their diets but not the entirety of their diets, since these animals need to consume grain. [americangrassfed.org]
On 15 October 2007, USDA issued a voluntary standard for grass forage/fed marketing claims. The standard, which was put out for public comment via the Federal Register, states: grass fed/forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The animal cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. [USDA]
Crops grown to be incorporated into the soil to increase the soil quality, fertility, and structure. [Natl Ag Library]
A cover crop grown to help maintain soil organic matter and increase nitrogen availability. Legumes are often used because they have rhizobial bacteria living in their root nodules that are able to fix nitrogen form the air and add it to the soil. [UC Davis Extension]
Rendered fat derived from swine. Its composition, characteristics, and consistency varies according to the feeding regime. [Natl Ag Library]
A product containing no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. [USDA Food Safety Inspection Service]
No Hormones (pork and poultry)
Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by the statement: “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones” [USDA]
No Hormones (beef)
The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals. [USDA]
No Antibiotics (red meat and poultry)
The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat and poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency showing animals have been raised without antibiotics. [USDA]
Organic food is produced without: antibiotics; growth hormones; most conventional pesticides; petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers; bioengineering or ionizing radiation. USDA certification is required before a product can be labeled “organic.” [Natl Ag Library]
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