Adulterated: The full legal concept of adulteration is complex, but essentially, a food is “adulterated” if it contains any poisonous or added deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health or if it consists of or has been exposed to a diseased, contaminated, filthy, putrid, or decomposed substance during production, preparation, or packaging, or if held under unsanitary conditions. 

Agency (agent):  A fiduciary relationship created by express or implied contract or by law, in which one party (the agent) may act on behalf of another party (the principal) and bind that other party by words or actions. 

Agricultural Enterprise: Agriculturally-related activities performed by any person(s) for a common business purpose. This includes all such activities whether performed in one or more establishments or by one or more corporate or other organizational units.  This could include a leasing of a department of another establishment.

Agronomic Rate:  A specific rate of application that provides the precise amount of water and nutrient loading, which selected grasses/crops require without having any excess water or nutrient percolate beyond the root zone.

Amortization: The paying off of debt in regular installments over time; the deduction of capital expenses over a specific period of time. 

Annex: To incorporate territory into the domain of a city, county, or state.

Articles of Incorporation: A document that dictates the management of the affairs of a corporation, including the purpose and duration of the corporation and the number and classes of shares to be issued by the corporation.   

Assumed Name: (also known as "doing business as" or "d/b/a"):  The name under which a business operates or by which it is commonly known. 

Assumption of the Risk: A legal concept in negligence (tort) law wherein an individual knows of or is otherwise aware of a risk posed by a particular activity and nonetheless engages in the activity.  The doctrine thus limits that individual’s right to hold others liable for injuries incurred as a result of engaging in the activity.  Assumption of the risk most commonly arises in the context of employer-employee relationships and agri-tourism. 

Business Plan:  The business plan helps guide the business owner through the goals, objectives, and marketing and financial strategies of a proposed business.  It also may serve as an introduction to potential investors if outside financing is required. 

Candling (egg): The use of a bright light source behind the egg to show details of the embryo through the shell. 

Case Study: An intensive analysis of an individual unit (such as a person, business, or community) that stresses developmental factors in relation to environment. 

Checkoff: A mandatory fee for all producers of a particular commodity that is used to fund commodity-specific research or marketing. 

Commercially Available: Under the National Organic Program, the ability to obtain a production input in an appropriate form, quality, or quantity to fulfill an essential function in a system of organic production or handling as determined by the certifying agent in the course of reviewing the organic plan. 

Commodity: A tangible item that may be bought or sold; something produced for commerce. 

Commodity Agriculture: The agricultural production of commodities with the primary objective of farming being to produce as much food/fiber as possible for the least cost. It is driven by the twin goals of productivity and efficiency.

Common Law: The body of laws and rules that courts create as they issue decisions. 

Consideration: A vital element in contract law, consideration is something (i.e., an act, forbearance, or return promise) bargained for and received by a promisor from a promisee.  It is typically the underlying purpose for entering into a contract. 

Contract: A legally enforceable agreement between two or more persons involving an offer, acceptance, and consideration.  It may be oral or written. 

Cooperative: A user-owned and controlled business that generates benefits for its users and distributes these benefits to each member based on the amount of usage. 

Copyright: (1) The right to copy a work, specifically an original work of authorship (including a literary, dramatic or other work) fixed in any tangible meaning of expression, giving the holder exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, or otherwise control the work; (2) the body of law related to such works. 

Corporation: A separate legal entity in which the owners (shareholders) are not personally responsible for the liability of business. 

  • S corporations elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credit through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes to avoid double taxation. 
  • C corporations are separate taxpaying entities that conduct business, realize net income or loss, pay taxes, and distribute profits to shareholders. 

Cow-Share Program: A program in which consumers sign a contract to purchase a “share” in a cow or herd and pay the farmer to care for and milk the cows.  The consumer then receives the milk from “their” cow without technically “purchasing” the milk. 

De Minimis: Something so small that it would be inconvenient and unreasonable to keep an account of; the impact is insubstantial. 

Depreciation:  A decline in an asset’s value due to use, wear, obsolescence, or age. 

Double Taxation: The government taxes the corporation on its profits and the owners/shareholders also pay individual income tax on profits distributed as dividends from the same corporation. 

Estate Plan: The preparation of a plan to carry out an individual's wishes as to the administration and disposition of his/her property before or after death.

Excise Tax: A tax levied on the purchase of a specific good as opposed to a tax that generally applies to the sale of all goods. 

Farm Labor Contractor (FLC): Any person, other than an agricultural employer, an agricultural association, or an employee of an agricultural employer or agricultural association, who, for any money or other consideration, performs recruiting, soliciting, hiring, employing, furnishing, or transporting of any migrant or seasonal agricultural worker.

Feasibility Study: A process used to analyze an existing business opportunity or new venture.  The questions on a feasibility checklist concentrate on areas one must seriously consider to determine if an idea represents a real business opportunity. 

Good Faith: Acting honestly, fairly, and with a lawful purpose without malice or  any intent to defraud or take unfair advantage.  Whether a party has acted in good faith is often an issue that the court or the jury has to decide in a lawsuit. 

Grading: USDA certification that a product is of a particular quality. 

Grandfather Clause: A portion of a statute that provides that the law is not applicable in certain circumstances due to preexisting facts. 

Gross receipts: All considerations received by the seller, except trades in personal property. 

Halal: An Islamic term that refers to something lawful or acceptable. 

Hazardous Positions: In the employment context, hazardous positions include, but are not limited to, operating large farm machinery, working in enclosed spaces with dangerous animals (studs and new mothers), working from a ladder or scaffold more than 20 feet high, working inside certain spaces such as manure pits, and handling hazardous chemicals. 

Health Claim: A health claim describes a relationship between the food (or component of it) and the reduction of the risk of a disease or health-related condition.

Hold Harmless: A provision in an agreement under which one or both parties agree not to hold the other party responsible for any loss, damage, or legal liability.

Injunction (prohibitory): An order of a court commanding a person, corporation, or government entity to stop doing something and/or refrain from doing such actions in the future. 

Intellectual Property: Creations of the mind; inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, as well as the body of law (trademark, patent, copyright, trade secret) used to protect such works. 

Interstate Commerce: The buying and selling of products and services between people and entities located in different states or territories. 

Intrastate Commerce: The buying and selling of products and services within a single state. 

Joint and Several Liability: A legal obligation under which a party may be liable for the payment of the total judgment and costs that are associated with that judgment, even if that party is only partially responsible for losses inflicted. 

Karst Area: Area(s) where surface water easily flows through rock formations to ground water, posing potential risks for contamination of groundwater

Kosher: The term for foods that comply with Jewish dietary laws. 

Livestock Management Facility: Any animal feeding operation, livestock shelter, or on-farm milking and accompanying milk-handling area. 

Man-day: Any day where an employee performs agricultural labor for at least one hour. 

Material Representation: A convincing statement made to induce someone to enter into a contract to which the person would not have agreed without that assertion.

Migrant Agricultural Worker: An individual who is employed in agricultural employment of a seasonal or other temporary nature, and who is required to be absent overnight from his permanent place of residence.

Misbranding: The label, brand, tag or notice under which a product is sold is false or misleading in any particular as to the kind, grade or quality or composition. 

Negligence: A tort law concept; the failure to exercise the standard of care that an ordinary, prudent and reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances. 

Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking: A rulemaking process by which government agencies provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the interpretation of laws by giving feedback on draft regulations. 

Nuisance: A substantial interference, either by act or omission, with a person’s right to use and enjoy their property. 

  • Public Nuisance: An interference  or invasion that affects a substantial number of people, or an entire neighborhood or community
  • Private Nuisance: An interference or invasion that affects a single party, or a definite, small number of individuals in the use or enjoyment of private rights. 

Nutrient Content Claims: These claims characterize the level of a nutrient in a food; they must be approved by FDA. 

Organic: A system of food production that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that promote biodiversity and ecological balance.  Organic certification is managed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Output Contract: A written agreement in which a producer agrees to sell its entire production to the buyer, who in turn agrees to purchase the entire output. 

Partnership: A partnership (also known as general partnership) is an association of two or more persons who combine their labor, skill, and/or property to carry on as co-owners of a business for profit. 

Patent: A patent grants the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention in the United States or ‘importing’ the invention into the United States for a limited period, generally 20 years. 

Piecework: Work completed and paid for by the piece. 

Prima-facieLatin for “at first sight.”  In law, an evidentiary standard that presumes particular evidence proves a particular fact; however, the fact may be disproven by providing contradictory evidence. 

Processing: The manufacturing, compounding, intermixing, or preparing food products for sale or for customer service. 

Procurement Contract: A term that refers to contracts used by governments and institutions to acquire products. 

Properly Implemented: An administrative law concept that requires agencies to issue rules according to state or federal administrative procedure. 

Qualified Health Claim: A health claim where emerging scientific evidence suggests the claim may be valid, but the evidence is not strong enough to meet the standard necessary to be a health claim; must be pre-approved by FDA. 

Raw Agricultural Commodity: Any food in its raw or natural state, including all fruits that are washed, colored, or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form before marketing. 

Real Property:  Land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected upon it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land. 

Requirements Contract: A contract in which a buyer promises to buy and a seller promises to supply all the goods or services that a buyer needs during a specified period.  The quantity term is measured by the buyer’s requirements. 

Respondeat Superior: In tort law, the doctrine holding an employer or principal liable for an employee’s or agent’s wrongful acts committed within the scope of the employment or agency. 

Retailers’ Occupation Tax: A tax upon persons engaged in this State in the business of selling tangible personal property to purchasers for use or consumption. 

Sales Tax: A combination of occupation taxes (imposed on a business’ receipts from the sale of goods used or consumed) and use taxes (imposed on consumers that purchase items for personal use or consumption from a business). 

Seasonal Agricultural Worker: An individual who is employed in agricultural employment of a seasonal or other temporary nature and is not required to be absent overnight from his permanent place of residence-

  1. When employed on a farm or ranch performing field work related to planting, cultivating, or harvesting operations; or
  2. when employed in canning, packing, ginning, seed conditioning or related research, or processing operations, and transported, or caused to be transported, to or from the place of employment by means of a day-haul operation.

Setback: The distance a facility must be from property lines or neighboring residences. 

Sole Proprietorship: A business owned and operated by one individual. 

Statute: A federal or state written law enacted by the Congress or state legislature, respectively. Local statutes or laws are usually called "ordinances." Regulations, rulings, opinions, executive orders and proclamations are not statutes.

Tangible Personal Property: A term describing personal property that can be physically relocated. The opposite of real property, in a sense, as real property is immovable.

Technical Bulletins: Non-binding guidance documents published by agencies that facilitate consistent interpretation and application of the regulations issued by the agency. 

Three-Tier Distribution System: In the alcohol supply chain, a system that requires manufacturers to sell with distributors, who sell with retailers, who then may sell the product to the end consumer. 

Tort: An injury or harm to another person or person’s property that the law recognizes as a basis for a lawsuit. 

Trade Dress: A design, packaging, or other element of appearance that is both nonfunctional and distinctive. 

Trademark: An identification used to distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others – it is the symbol that customers use to identify a product and equate with goodwill. 

Trade Name: A name used to identify a person’s business or vocation (see also ASSUMED NAME). 

Trade Secret: Information companies make an effort to keep secret in order to give them an economic advantage over their competitors

Use Tax: A privilege tax imposed on the privilege of using, in this State, any kind of tangible personal property that is purchased anywhere at retail from a retailer. 

Veterinary Biologics:  Products of biological origin that are used to diagnose and treat animal diseases.