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As a federal agency focused on agricultural sciences, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture uses a variety of terms and acronyms throughout the website. While this glossary is not complete, we will continue to periodically update it with new terms and acronyms.

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  • 9004: Repowering Assistance Program
  • 9005: Advanced Biofuel Payment Program
  • 1862s: Land-Grant Institutions Established by the Passage of the First Morrill Act (1862)
  • 1890s-1890: Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, and Tuskegee University
  • 1994s-1994: Land-Grant Colleges and Universities (also referred to as Tribal Colleges)


  • AA: Agricultural Act of 2014
  • ACRE: Average Crop Revenue Election
  • AD: Applications Division
  • ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act
  • ADAAA: Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act
  • AES: Agricultural Experiment Stations; locations that conduct research to find solutions to problems in food production in ag-related businesses
  • AFRI: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative
  • Agribusiness: a business that earns revenue from agriculture
  • Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994: legislation which provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the necessary authority to streamline and reorganize the Department of Agriculture to achieve greater efficiency, effectiveness, and economies in the organization and management of departmental programs and activities
  • Agroforestry: the intentional integration of trees and shrubs into crop and animal farming systems to create environmental, economic, and social benefits
  • AI/AN: American Indian/Alaska Native
  • AMA: Agricultural Management Assistance Program
  • AMD: Awards Management Division
  • AMS: Agricultural Marketing Service
  • Animal Breeding: agriculture relating to the care and breeding of domestic animals such as cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses
  • Anniversary Date: for competitive and non-competitive projects, the period of performance is a 12 month period beginning with the start date or anniversary date of the project; annual progress reports for these are due no later than 90 days after the award anniversary date
  • ANPR: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
  • ANREP: Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: bacteria and other microorganisms that develop ways to survive drugs meant to kill or weaken them
  • APHIS: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • AQI: Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection
  • Aquaculture: the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants, including freshwater and marine line, for food and other purposes
  • AR: Authorized Representative; the President or Chief Executive Officer of the applicant organization or the designated official who has the authority to commit the organization’s resources to the project. For capacity programs, the AR is the Director
  • ARC: Agricultural Risk Coverage
  • AREERA: Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998
  • ARS: Agriculture Research Service
  • ARIS: Agricultural Research Information System
  • ARMS: Agricultural Resource Management Survey
  • ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • ASAP: Automated Standard Application for Payments; a secure, web-based electronic payment and information application that allows federal agencies to administer funds
  • AWA: Animal Welfare Act
  • Award Phase: the phase which involves making funding decisions and notifying awardees of their selection for a grant
  • AWEP: Agricultural Water Enhancement Program


  • BCAP: Biomass Crop Assistance Program
  • BFRDP: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
  • Bioeconomy: a marketplace based on renewable biomass, bioenergy, and sustainable agricultural crops
  • Bioenergy: renewable energy produced from biomass, which is organic material such as trees, plants (including crops), and waste materials (e.g., wood waste from mills, municipal wastes, manure, landfill gas (LFG), and methane from wastewater treatment facilities)
  • Bio-Based Industrial Product: a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that is composed of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials such as plant, animal, and marine materials
  • Biofuels: fuels produced directly or indirectly from organic material including plant materials and animal waste.
  • Biological Pest Control: the reduction of pest populations by natural enemies, typically involving an active human role
  • Biomass: biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms
  • Biotechnology: the manipulation of living organisms to be commercially used in pharmaceutical products
  • Biosecurity: practices established to protect all species against harmful biological hazards
  • Body Mass index: the ratio of a person’s height to weight
  • BS: Budget Staff
  • BSE: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; commonly known as mad cow disease


  • CAA: Clean Air Act
  • Capacity Grant: programs that ensure that the Land-Grant University System and other partners maintain the ability to conduct research and extension activities
  • Carbon Sequestration: the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir
  • CEP: Community Eligibility Provisions
  • CF: Community Facilities
  • CFR: Code of Federal Regulations
  • Childhood Obesity: when a child is above their normal body weight; conditions are excess body fat
  • CIG: Conservation Innovation Grants
  • CIP: Center for International Programs
  • Climate Change: long-term changes in the Earth’s climate due to extended periods of weather conditions, precipitation, and wind patterns
  • Close-Out Award Phase: the phase of the grant lifecycle that involves the submission, review, and approval of all final reports as required by specific program policies and regulations
  • CNA: Child Nutrition Act
  • CNP: Child Nutrition Programs
  • CNPP: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
  • COB: Close of Business
  • Competitive Grants: programs that enable NIFA, via a rigorous peer review process, to select the highest quality proposals from a large pool of institutions and organizations
  • CONUS: Continental United States
  • CR: Civil Rights
  • CRP: Conservation Reserve Program
  • CS: Communications Staff
  • CSA: Community-supported Agriculture
  • CSFRGA: Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act of 1965
  • CSREES: Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
  • CWA: Clean Water Act
  • CY: Calendar Year
  • CYFAR: Children, Youth, and Families at Risk


  • DAS-Ag: Division of Agricultural Systems
  • DAS-Animals: Division of Animal Systems
  • Data Marts: collections of data targeted to a specific purpose or audience
  • DCE: Division of Community and Education
  • DES: Division of Environmental Systems
  • DFCS: Division of Family and Consumer Services
  • DFS: Division of Food Safety
  • DGA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • DGCC: Division of Global Climate Change
  • DN: Division of Nutrition
  • DOB: Division of Bioenergy
  • DPs: Direct Payments
  • DPSP-Production: Division of Plant Systems - Production
  • DPSP-Protection: Division of Plant Systems - Protection
  • DY4-H: Division of Youth and 4-H


  • Ecosystem: a system of all living things in a given area—plants, animals and organisms—which interact with each other and with non-living surrounding elements, such as weather, soil, climate, and atmosphere
  • EFNEP: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
  • Emerging Disease (Animals): A disease, infection, or infestation in domestic or wild animals that is a threat to terrestrial animals, aquatic animals, or humans, and meets one of the following criteria: 1.) An unknown agent that is causing disease, infection, or infestation in an animal population and has the potential to result in a significant animal or public health impact, and applied diagnostic tests have yielded negative or non-definitive results; OR 2.) A newly identified agent that is causing disease, infection, or infestation in an animal population and has the potential to cause significant animal or public health impact, or is occurring in multiple herds/flocks/premises; OR 3.) A previously identified or known pathogenic agent that has a change in epidemiology, such as: a.) Increased pathogenicity, b.) Expanded host range, c.) Change in geography of an agent with the potential to cause a significant animal or public health impact, or d.) Unexpected morbidity/mortality
  • EOS: Equal Opportunity Staff
  • ERME: Extension Risk Management Education Program
  • Extension: the application of scientific research and knowledge to agricultural practices through education of agricultural workers
  • Extension System: a network of organizations that engage in collaborative educational and research efforts in order to address agricultural needs
  • Extramural Research: grants and contracts to outside institutions or schools to help pay for research projects and resources


  • FACT: Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 
  • Feedstock: raw material put into a process for conservation
  • Feed Efficiency: pounds of product produced per pound of matter consumed, referred to as the feed to gain or gain to feed ratio. Beef, swine, fish, and poultry industries have used feed efficiency as a benchmark for profitability.
  • Federal Financial Report: awardees are required to submit an SF-425, Federal Financial Report annually no later than 90 days after the award anniversary date. The final SF-425 is due no later than 90 days after the termination date of the grant.
  • FOD: Financial Management Division
  • Food Efficiency: the calories consumed of a certain amount of food divided by weight gain
  • Food Safety: the handling, processing and storage of food in order to prevent foodborne illness
  • Food SecurityFood security for a household means access by all members at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum:
    • The ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods
    • Assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies)
  • FSIS: Food Safety and Inspections Service
  • Fundamental Research: research performed without the thought of a practical end goal or specific applications


  • GAO: General Accounting Office
  • GAP: Good Agricultural Processes
  • Grasslands: large land areas covered with grass typically used for grazing
  • Genetics and Genomics: application of recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes
  • GPS Technology: a group of orbiting satellites that transmit precise signals, allowing GPS receivers to calculate and display accurate location, speed, and time information to the user
  • Greenhouse Gases: gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation such as carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons


  • Health Disparities – If a health outcome is seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations, there is a disparity. Race or ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location all contribute to an individual’s ability to achieve good health.
  • Health Equity All populations having access to community conditions and opportunities needed to reach their full potential and to experience optimal health and well-being.
  • Hispanic Serving Institutions: HSIs; non-profit institutions that have at least 25 percent Hispanic full-time equivalent enrollment. There are more than 250 HSIs in the U.S which serve over one million Hispanic students
  • 1890 Historically Black Universities: institutions established to serve the educational needs of black Americans. Prior to the time of their establishment, blacks were generally denied admission to traditionally white institutions. As a result, HBCUs became the principle means for providing postsecondary education to black Americans
  • HLB: Huanglongbing, also known as Citrus Greening Disease, caused by bacteria
  • Horticulture Plants: the cultivation of edible and non-edible plants
  • Heirloom Crop Varieties: vegetation grown by gardeners and farmers in isolated or ethnic communities


  • IBCE: Institute of Bioenergy, Climate Change, and Environment
  • IEG: Income Eligibility Guidelines
  • I-FAST: Innovation in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology
  • IFPS: Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
  • IFSN: Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition
  • Insular: relating to an isolated area, an island, or outside culture
  • Integrated Pest Management: IPM; an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties
  • Integrated Approach: merger of aspects of different strategies to achieve a solution
  • Invasive Pests and Diseases: species that do not occur naturally in a specific area and whose introduction is likely to cause economic, agricultural, or environmental harm
  • IPPTD: Information, Policy, Planning, and Training Division
  • ISE: International Science and Education, a competitive grants program
  • IYFC: Institute of Youth, Family, and Community




  • Land-Grant Colleges and Universities: institutions of higher education in the United States designated by a state to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890


  • Marker-assisted Selection (MAS): is an indirect selection process where a trait of interests is selected based on a marker (morphological, biochemical or DNA/RNA variation) linked to a trait of interest, rather than on the trait itself.
  • Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI): colleges and universities that provide educational opportunities to those who have historically faced inequality in their access to higher education
  • Multiple Crop Technologies: the practice of growing two or more crops in the same shared space during a single growing season


  • Nano-Catalyst: a catalyst the size of a nanometer that causes a chemical reaction to happen more quickly
  • NARETPA: National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977
  • National Challenge Areas: NIFA is committed to identifying and supporting research, education, and extension priorities to six national priority areas
  • National Program Leader: NPL; the NIFA staff principal responsible for overall program planning, development, evaluation, and management; NPLs provide agency leadership as national experts in the related science areas
  • NIFA 2009 Award Face Sheet: a legally binding document that notifies the grantee and others that a grant has been made and documents the obligation of federal funds
  • Nanometer: a unit of spatial measurement that is 10-9 meter, or one billionth of a meter; commonly used in nanotechnology
  • Nanotechnology: science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers
  • Nanosensors: collects and transmits information about data on the nanoscale; measured in nanometers
  • Natural Resource Economics: seeks to value natural resources to aid in the optimization of the production of goods and services from agricultural lands while protecting the environment
  • NLGCA: Non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture Program
  • Non-Competitive Grants: grants directed by Congress to support designated institutions for research, education, or extension on topics of importance to a state or region
  • NPDN: National Plant Diagnostic Network
  • Nutrition Education – nutrition education is any combination of educational strategies, accompanied by environmental supports, designed to motivate and facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food and nutrition-related behaviors conducive to health and well-being (of individuals, community, planet).
  • Nutrition Security – Nutrition security means all Americans have consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, affordable foods essential to optimal health and well-being.
  • OASD: Operations and Administrative Systems Division
  • OD: Office of the Director
  • OGFM: Office of Grants and Financial Management
  • OIG: Office of Inspector General
  • OIT: Office of Information Technology
  • Organic Agriculture: an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity
  • Overweight and Obesity – Weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height is described as overweight or obesity and Body Mass Index (BMI) is a screening tool for overweight or obesity


  • PARS: Planning, Accountability, and Reporting
  • Peer Review Process: Competitive grant applications are reviewed by a panel of peer reviewers convened by NIFA, as applications are subject to peer review as required by the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (AREERA), and 7 CFR 2.21. Panels are composed of peer scientists, ad hoc reviewers, and other recognized specialists in specific program areas who review applications for compliance with a program’s statutory requirements.
  • Pre-Award Phase: this phase begins with the announcement of funding opportunities for grants and involves the preparation, submission, and review of proposals to those announcements
  • Precision Agriculture: technological advances meant to propel agriculture into the computerized information-based world
  • Project Director: the principal from a NIFA-funded organization, who is responsible for managing a grant project.
  • Photosynthesis: a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy from the Sun into chemical energy that can be later released to fuel the organisms' activities
  • POD: Policy and Oversight Division
  • Post-Award Phase: the post-award phase involves setting up accounts in the financial payment system, and monitoring awardees for compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and submission of required reports
  • PPV: Plum Pox Virus



  • Rangelands: large open land areas containing grass, plants and shrubs used for grazing
  • REE: Research, Education and Economics
  • RFA: Request For Applicants
  • Risk Management: the identification, analysis, assessment, control, and avoidance, minimization, or elimination of unacceptable risks
  • Robotic Systems: the use of robots that work alongside people in American production agriculture


  • SARE: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
  • SCRI: Specialty Crop Research Initiative program that addresses the needs of specialty crop growers, processors and consumers by funding projects that integrate research and extension in a systems approach
  • Sequencing Animal Genomes: a research technique that allows for deciphering the genetic information found in the DNA of living organisms
  • Small Business: defined as being staffed by 500 or fewer employees, small businesses are a key component of a strong economy
  • State Extension: provides federal funding to the system and, through program leadership, helps the system identify and address current issues and problems
  • Small Farms: more than 90 percent of farms in the U.S. are classified as small, with a gross cash farm income of $250,000, or less
  • SOD: Sudden Oak Death
  • SPECA: Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants program
  • Spodoptera frugiperda: known as the fall armyworm
  • STEM: the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
  • Sustainable Agriculture: an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term satisfy human food and fiber needs


  • Technical Report: All awardees are required to submit annual technical progress reports through REEPort. Progress reports must cover only the most recent period of performance and should adequately describe the grant project’s progress toward performance objectives and clearly highlight the major accomplishments achieved during the reporting period
  • Transboundary Animal Diseases: Highly contagious epidemic diseases that can spread extremely rapidly, irrespective of national borders. They cause high rates of death and disease in animals, thereby having serious socio-economic and sometimes public health consequences while constituting a constant threat to the livelihoods of livestock farmers
  • Transgenic: Genetically modified organisms; an organism that has been generated by biotechnology
  • 1994 Tribal Colleges: enhance educational opportunities for Native Americans by strengthening instructional programs in the food and agricultural sciences


  • Unspent or Unobligated Funds: an unobligated balance is the portion of the authorized federal funds not yet obligated by the recipient


  • VMLRP: Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
  • VSGP: Veterinary Services Grant Program


  • Watershed: the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place
  • Workforce Development: building a network of appropriately trained and educated workers





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