AFO Animal Feeding Operation
Sites where animals are kept and raised in confined situations. (See also CAFO.)
AMS Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA)
AMS facilitates the strategic marketing of agricultural products in domestic and international markets while ensuring fair trading practices and promoting a competitive and efficient marketplace. AMS constantly works to develop new marketing services to increase customer satisfaction.
APHIS Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA)
APHIS provides leadership in ensuring the health and care of animals and plants. The agency improves agricultural productivity and competitiveness and contributes to the national economy and the public health.
ARS Agricultural Research Service (USDA)
ARS is USDA's principal in-house research agency. ARS leads America towards a better future through agricultural research and information.
AT-DOJ Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice
ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (HHS)
ATSDR conducts research to identify associations between toxic substances and health risks; maintains a registry of contaminated sites; and works to minimize hazardous exposures and to maintain safe air, water, food, waste management and energy production.
BMP Best Management Practices
CAFO Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
There are two main types of feeding operations: AFOs and CAFOs. A key distinction is whether the feeding operation is required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination (NPDES) System for (potential) discharges of water contamination. Quantity, life stage, and type of livestock is also a consideration. For more information see the Agriculture Update paper on Animal Management.
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS)
The CDC protects health and promotes quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability
CNPP Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (USDA)
COOL Country of Origin Labeling (USDA)
CU Consumers Union
The CU is the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
CWA Clean Water Act (EPA)
CVM Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA)
DRI Daily Recommended Intake
The DRI is part of the revised “My Plate” nutrition standard
DNA Deoxyribonucleic Acid
Molecules that carry the genetic code for all living organisms and many viruses.
EDC Endocrine-Disrupting Compound
Chemicals that interfere with, activate, or block the proper action of human hormones
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
The federal regulatory agency responsible for protecting the environment. The EPA addresses general concerns of environmental pollution and reviews and registers toxic materials, both at the level of use and as residues in food, air and water.
EQIP Environmental Quality Incentives Program (USDA)
Federal subsidy program to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns.
ERS Economic Research Service (USDA)
ERS is USDA’s principal social science research agency. Each year, ERS communicates research results and socioeconomic indicators via briefings, analyses for policymakers and their staffs, market analysis updates, and major reports.
FAS Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA)
FAS works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products. This USDA agency operates programs designed to build new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace.
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations The FAO serves as a knowledge network across a global spectrum. The agency aims “to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.”
FCIC Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (USDA)
FDA Food and Drug Administration (est. 1906) (HHS)
The FDA protects public health by regulating domestically produced and imported human and animal drugs, biologics, medical devices, food and animal feed, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
FIFRA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (EPA)
FOS Food Safety Department of the World Health Organization.
A primary focus of the FOS is to lower the global impact of food or animal-borne disease worldwide. The FOS conducts research on novel foods, additives and contaminants, and works to provide larger food and supply inventories for countries to access in times of disaster.
FNS Food and Nutrition Service (USDA)
The FNS is responsible for administering the nutrition assistance programs SNAP, WIC, school-based programs, disaster assistance programs, etc.
FSA Farm Service Agency (USDA)
The FSA implements agricultural policy; administers credit and loan programs; and manages conservation, commodity, disaster and farm marketing programs through a national network of offices.
FSIS Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA)
The FSIS enhances public health and well-being by protecting the public from foodborne illness and ensuring that the nation’s meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly packaged. Manages the National Advisory Committees on Meat and Poultry Inspection (NACMPI) and Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF).
FSMA Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA)
This 2011 law has four major purposes: prevention of food safety hazards, detection of and response to food safety problems, improving the safety of imported foods, and miscellaneous provisions.
GAO Government Accountability Office
An independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or mandated by public laws or committee reports. Often called the “congressional watchdog,” the GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.
GFI Guidance for Industry
Agency publications that help industry understand and follow established agency guidelines (note: these are voluntary and not legally binding).
GIPSA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (USDA)
GIPSA facilitates the marketing of livestock, poultry, meat, cereals, oilseeds, and related agricultural products. It also promotes fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture. GIPSA ensures open and competitive markets for livestock, poultry, and meat by investigating and monitoring industry trade practices.
GRAS Generally Recognized As Safe
A designation for food additives that are generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use OR the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive. Once a food additive is designated GRAS, manufacturers are not required to notify the FDA before adding them to food products.
HHS The Department of Health and Human Services (aka USDHHS)
The United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS oversees 11 Operating Divisions including the FDA, the CDC and the NIH.
IRM Insect Resistance Management
Practices to curb insects and to interfere with their ability to develop resistance to approved pesticides.
NAL National Agricultural Library (USDA)
NAL ensures and enhances access to agricultural information for a better quality of life.
NIEHS National Institute of Environmental Health Science (division of NIH)
NIFA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA)
NIFA’s unique mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. NIFA doesn’t perform actual research, education, and extension but rather helps fund it at the state and local level and provides program leadership in these areas.
NIH National Institute of Health (HHS)
NIOSH National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (CDC)
NMFS National Marine and Fisheries Service (division of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce)
NMFS is responsible for the stewardship and management of the nation’s living marine resources and their habitat within the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends seaward 200 nautical miles from the coastline.
NNI National Nanotechnology Initiative (a US Government R&D initiative)
NPDES National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (EPA)
A federal permit program under the Clean Water Act that regulates pollution by regulating point source water discharges.
NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA)
NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment.
PACA Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930 (AMS of USDA)
PDP Pesticide Data Program
A national pesticide residue database program (EPA)
PIP Plant Incorporated Protectants
Pesticides that are genetically embedded into plants
RD Rural Development (USDA)
RD helps rural areas to develop and grow by offering Federal assistance that improves quality of life. RD targets communities in need and then empowers them with financial and technical resources.
RDA Recommended Daily Allowance (a food labeling term)
RMA Risk Management Agency (USDA)
RMA helps to ensure that farmers have the financial tools necessary to manage their agricultural risks. RMA provides coverage through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, which promotes national welfare by improving the economic stability of agriculture.
rDNA Recombinant DNA
Molecules formed by methods of genetic recombination to create new genetic sequences.
SFA Saturated Fatty Acids—a lipid profile measurement
Varied SFAs are found in livestock meats that are raised differently.
SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (USDA),
Commonly known as “food stamps,” it is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families, and provides public outreach to help eligible consumers make wise decisions about nutrition and healthy food.
TBT Technical Barriers to Trade
Differing regulations and standards between two or more countries can create technical barriers to trade.
TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load
The TMDL is the maximum level of pollution that can be output from an enterprise.
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture (est. 1862, oversees 17 agencies and 17 offices)
http://www.USDA.gov
WIC Women, Infants, and Children—Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (USDA)
Provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
WHO World Health Organization (United Nations)
Responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
WTO World Trade Organization (global member nation organization)
Negotiates, implements and oversees trade agreements that cover goods, services and intellectual property between member nations.

© January 2014 League of Women Voters. Produced by the Agriculture Update Committee

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