This glossary of agriculture-related terms is compiled by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and resourced from the United States Department of Agriculture
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Agricultural Acts


PACA -The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) promotes fair trading in the fresh and frozen fruit and vegetable industry. Through PACA, buyers and sellers are legally required to live up to the terms of their contracts. Procedures are available for resolving disputes.
Packing House - A business where fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry or eggs are packed in containers for shipping to stores.
Parity - Equality in the present purchasing power of a unit (bushel, cwt) of a product compared with its purchasing power during the period 1910-14. Parity price for any commodity equals its 10-year average price multiplied by the ratio of the current Parity Index compared to the 10-year average of Prices Received Index.
Parity Ratio - A measure of relative purchasing power of farm products. The ratio between index of prices received by farmers for all farm products and index of prices paid by farmers for commodities and services used in farm production and family living. Parity ratio measures prices received and prices paid, not purchasing power, income government payments or farmers' assets.
Pasture - Land that is used to, or has the potential to, produce food for grazing animals
Pennsylvania Agronomy Guide: The reference book published by the Cooperative Extension as a practical guide to grain and forage production, soil fertility management, pest management, and erosion control, with special reference to Pennsylvania conditions.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau - A general farm organization that is financed and directed by members. It is a voluntary membership organization; non-governmental, nonpartisan, and non-secret organization. It offers services to members, including: legislative and regulatory service, leadership training, women's activities, young farmer programs, public relations and information, commodity activities and PFB Legal Fund. Through the MSC Business Services, members can access Farm Management Services, an agricultural consulting services that does farm management, farm accounting services, computer and software leasing, tax preparation, farm business analysis, trust management and the PFB Legal Service Plan. Through PFB's Safemark Division, members can purchase tires, batteries. tubes, tillage parts, roller chains and cutting parts, tire chains, and bailer twine. PFB sponsors group medical programs, including hospitalization and eye and dental programs. It has a special sponsorship agreement with Nationwide Insurance Enterprise that provides members with complete liability, property, casualty, retirement planning and all other insurances.
Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board (PMMB) supervises and regulates the entire milk industry in the Commonwealth, including production, manufacturing, processing, storage, transportation, disposal, distribution and sale of milk. The Board establishes minimum prices at the producer, wholesale and retail level and provides security for farmers by licensing and bonding milk dealers. The Board consists of three members appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
Pennsylvania Technical Guide - A primary reference document published by the USDA's NRCS, which is used by technically trained persons to plan and apply appropriate Best Management Practices.
Perennial Stream - A body of water that normally flows year-round in a defined channel or bed, and is capable, in the absence of pollution or other manmade stream disturbances, or supporting bottom dwelling aquatic animals.
Percolation - The downward movement of water through soil under the influence of gravity.
Pesticide - An agent formulated to destroy pests in soil, air or on plants. Farm use of pesticides are regulated by the state and Federal government.
Pesticide Residue - A detectable level of a chemical residue found on a food product.
Pesticide Tolerance Levels - Scientifically acceptable level of a pesticide residue that can exist on a fruit or vegetable product. Usually expressed in parts per million or billion.
Policy Development - The decision-making process that begins at the county Farm Bureau and evolves through a series of processes that eventually sets the legislative, regulatory and organizational direction of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Final policy positions are voted upon by voting delegates at the PFB annual meeting. Issues of national importance are sent on to the American Farm Bureau Federation to be voted upon by state delegates to the AFBF annual meeting.
Polymers - A chemical compound or mixture that can use corn, corn starches and potatoes to make biodegradable packing fill, fast-food cups, lids, straws and cutlery. It is also being used as a biodegradable coating on fast food wrapping paper and paperboard containers.
Pomology - The science or study of growing fruit.
Poultry - Chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and other domestic birds raised for meat or eggs.
Price Index - An indicator of average price change for a group of commodities that compares prices for those same commodities in some other period, commonly called the base period.
Price Support Level The price for a unit of a farm commodity (bushel, pound) that the government will support through price-support loans, purchases, and/or payments. Price support levels are determined by law and are set by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Produce - Fruits and Vegetables
Production Flexibility Contracts - As a result of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, a system of guaranteed annual payments over a seven-year period to farmers who qualify based on past participation in farm programs.
Promotional Check-off - A provision incorporated into some Federal orders, which allows a producer to finance a non-brand producer-operated program of market development and non-brand promotion. A producer may request a refund of promotion, check-off monies.
Public Law 480 -  Common name for the Federal Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, (Food for Peace) which seeks to expand foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products, combat hunger, and encourage economic development in developing countries. Title I, called Food for Peace Program and makes U.S. agricultural commodities available through long-term dollar credit sales at low interest rates for up to 40 years. Title II provides for emergency food relief needs.
Purchase of Development Rights - Farms in Pennsylvania that are located in a registered Agricultural Security Area (ASA) may, if they meet the criteria, apply to sell their development rights to the State. The owner receives a monetary payment based on the agricultural value and the fair market value. The farmer-owner retains title to the property, but any future purchaser of the property can only use it for agricultural purposes. The owner may rescind the agreement, but must return the monies to the Commonwealth.


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