Eco-Vocabulary Quiz: Agriculture
Test Your Eco-Vocabulary: Agriculture
2) Manure Lagoon
4) No-Till Farming
5) Heirloom Plant
1) CAFO: "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation." A fancy name for a factory farm, this term describes cattle feedlots, as well as the giant warehouses that confine chickens and pigs.
2) Manure Lagoon: A nicer-sounding name for a feature of many CAFO's: a giant water-logged pit of livestock feces. Left to decompose beneath the water, the manure releases greenhouse gasses like CO2 and methane, pollutes groundwater, and can serve as a toxic trap for passing waterfowl.
3) Permaculture: A farming practice that treats its field like an ecosystem, full of inter-related parts. It encourages the use of perennials and heirloom plants grown alongside animals and each other.
4) No-Till Farming: A form of agriculture that doesn't plow the soil before planting. This prevents erosion, encourages healthy soil structure, and reduces CO2 emissions from the soil. However, no-till crops are rarely organic, as most organic farmers depend on plowing to get rid of weeds.
5) Heirloom Plant: An older variety of crop, one that was grown before today's factory farms became popular. It must be open-pollinated (that is, it must pollinate naturally and not have its parentage strictly controlled). Heirlooms tend to be more diverse and locally adapted than commercial varieties. The equivalent term for livestock is 'Heritage Breed."
--Image by iStockphoto/vaeenma