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Agriculture: Topic Page
he practice of farming, including the cultivation of the soil (for raising crops) and the raising of domesticated animals. The units for managing agricultural production vary from smallholdings and individually owned farms to corporate-run farms and collective farms run by entire communities or by the government.
Cotton Gin: Topic Page
Machine that separates cotton fibres from the seed boll. Production of the gin ("gin" was an old term for "engine") by US inventor Eli Whitney in 1793 was a milestone in textile history.
Crop rotation: Topic Page
System of regularly changing the crops grown on a piece of land. The crops are grown in a particular order to utilize and add to the nutrients in the soil and to prevent the build-up of insect and fungal pests. Including a legume crop, such as peas or beans, in the rotation helps build up nitrate in the soil, because the roots contain bacteria capable of fixing nitrogen from the air.
Fertilizer: Topic Page
Substance containing some or all of a range of about 20 chemical elements necessary for healthy plant growth, used to compensate for the deficiencies of poor or depleted soil.
Garden: Topic Page
Plot of land, usually belonging to a householder. It can be cultivated to produce food or to create pleasant surroundings.
Irrigation: Topic Page
The watering of land by artificial means to foster plant growth.
Land Use: Topic Page
Exploitation of land for agricultural, industrial, residential, recreational, or other purposes.
Organic farming: Topic Page
Farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers (such as nitrates and phosphates) or pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) or other agrochemicals (such as hormones, growth stimulants, or fruit regulators). Food produced by genetic engineering cannot be described as organic.
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture): Topic Page
Federal executive department established in 1862, whose head was made a cabinet member in 1889.
Aquaculture: Topic Page
The raising and harvesting of fresh- and saltwater plants and animals. The most economically important form of aquaculture is fish farming, an industry that accounts for an ever increasing share of world fisheries production. Formerly a business for small farms, it is now also pursued by large agribusinesses, and by the early 2000s it had become almost as significant a source of fish as the as wild fisheries.
Clam: Topic Page
Common name for certain bivalve mollusks, especially for marine species that live buried in mud or sand and have valves (the two pieces of the shell) of equal size.
Cod: Topic Page
Member of the large family Gadidae, comprising commercially important food fishes.
Crayfish: Topic Page
Freshwater crustacean smaller than but structurally very similar to its marine relative the lobster, and found in ponds and streams in most parts of the world except Africa.
Fishing: Topic Page
Act of catching fish for consumption or display. Fishing—usually by hand, club, spear, net, and possibly by hook—was known to prehistoric people.
Lobster: Topic Page
Marine crustacean with five pairs of jointed legs, the first bearing large pincerlike claws of unequal size adapted to crushing the shells of its prey.
Overfishing: Topic Page
Fishing at rates that exceed the sustained-yield cropping of fish species, resulting in a net population decline.
Oyster: Topic Page
Edible bivalve mollusk found in beds in shallow, warm waters of all oceans.
Salmon: Topic Page
Any of the various bony fishes of the family Salmonidae. More specifically the name is applied to several species of game fishes of the genera Salmo and Oncorhynchus of North America and Eurasia that mature in the ocean but, to spawn, return to the freshwater streams where they were born. Their normal colour is silvery with a few dark spots, but the colour changes at the spawning season.
Tuna: Topic Page
Or tunny, game and food fishes, the largest members of the family Scombridae (mackerel family) and closely related to the albacore and bonito. They have streamlined bodies with two fins, and five or more finlets on the back. The body is very narrow in the tail region, and the tail is deeply forked.
Seaweed: Topic Page
Seaweed, name commonly used for the multicellular marine algae.
Breeding: Topic Page
In agriculture and animal husbandry, propagation of plants and animals by sexual reproduction; usually based on selection of parents with desirable traits to produce improved progeny. In conventional breeding, progeny inherit genes for both desirable and undesirable traits from both parents.
Cattle: Topic Page
Any large, ruminant, even-toed, hoofed mammal of the genus Bos, family Bovidae. Cattle are bred for meat (beef cattle) or milk (dairy cattle).
Dairy farming: Topic Page
A farming system specializing in the production of milk - usually from cows, but in some regions from sheep, goats, yaks, buffalo, or reindeer.
Dairying: Topic Page
Business of producing, processing, and distributing milk and milk products.
Meat: Topic Page
Meat, term for the flesh of animals used for food, especially that of cattle, sheep, lambs, and swine, as distinct from game, poultry, and fish; sometimes it is inclusive of all animal flesh.
Meatpacking: Topic Page
Wholesale business of buying and slaughtering animals and then processing and distributing their carcasses to retailers.
Milk: Topic Page
Liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals as food for their young.
Pharming: Topic Page
The use of genetically altered livestock, such as cows, goats, pigs, and chickens, to produce medically useful products.
Poultry: Topic Page
Domestic birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. They were domesticated for meat and eggs by early farmers in China, Europe, Egypt, and the Americas. Chickens were domesticated from the Southeast Asian jungle fowl Gallus gallus and then raised in the East as well as the West. Turkeys are New World birds, domesticated in ancient Mexico. Geese and ducks were domesticated in Egypt, China, and Europe.
Swine: Topic Page
Swine, name for any of the cloven-hoofed mammals of the family Suidae, native to the Old World.
Turkey: Topic Page
Turkey is the common name for a large gallinaceous bird with a fan-shaped tail and a bare, wattled head, which has become widely domesticated for food.
Conservation: Topic Page
In the life sciences, action taken to protect and preserve the natural world, usually from pollution, overexploitation, and other harmful features of human activity.
Environmentalism: Topic Page
Movement to protect the quality and continuity of life through conservation of natural resources, prevention of pollution, and control of land use.
Forestry: Topic Page
The management of forest lands for wood, water, wildlife, forage, and recreation. Because the major economic importance of the forest lies in wood and wood products, forestry has been chiefly concerned with timber management, especially reforestation, maintenance of the extant forest stands at prime condition, and fire control.
Land use: Topic Page
Exploitation of land for agricultural, industrial, residential, recreational, or other purposes. Because the United States historically has a laissez-faire attitude toward land use, the land has been exploited at will for economic gain. Only in recent decades have Americans realized that land is not a limitless commodity.