Industry Jargon: Agriculture Edition


It’s important for new grads entering the Agriculture industry to pick up on industry terminology quickly.

From farming terms to confusing machinery names, understanding the jargon not only leaves a positive impression on your employer – it also plays a large role in job safety. The last thing you want to do is start operating the wrong piece of equipment when your boss tells you to use the broadcast seeder!

To help you out, we’ve outlined some of the industry’s most common words and phrases. If you’re starting your career in Agriculture, use this guide to brush up on your industry jargon!

Agribusiness: Commercial agriculture characterized by integration of different steps in the food-processing industry, usually through ownership by large corporations.

Ex – “The agribusiness sector is a vital part of our economy.”

Agronomy: the science of soil management and crop production

Ex – “My cousin is studying agronomy at school.”

Auger: a spiral device on a shaft used to move grain through a tube

Ex – “We need to make sure the auger is set up properly to collect the grains.”

Broadcasters: a device designed to randomly scatter seeds across the surface of the ground; this method cannot be used for seeds that need to be planted deeper into the ground

Ex – “We need to broadcast these oats today.”

Cash crop: as the name suggests, this term describes a crop that is sold off the farm in exchange for cash

Ex – “Is there a cash crop ready? We have a buyer.”

Chemigation: the delivery of pesticides to plants using an irrigation system

Ex – “We’ll use a chemigation system on the wheat crop this year.”

Fair trade price: A minimum price that importers will pay agriculture producers in developing countries for their products.

Ex – “Can you do a fair trade price comparison on these bananas?”

Green manure: a combination of plants and other organic material used to improve soil quality by releasing substances such as nitrogen; usually soybean, alfalfa, or millet plants are used

Ex – “There’s a batch of green manure that can be used on some of the new crops.”

Groundwater: the water that seeps through the spaces in soil and rock, and passes underground

Ex – “We should cut back on fertilizer use so the groundwater doesn’t get more polluted.”

Horticulturist: someone who has mastered the art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, or other ornamental plants

Ex – “I’m not sure what that flower is, but the horticulturist will know!”

Top dressing: the application of fertilizer or manure to the top layer of soil after the seedbed is ready or once they plants start to grow

Ex – “We need to put the top dressing on those plants over there.”

Value chain: refers to the whole range of goods and services necessary for an agricultural product to move from the farm to the final customer or consumer.

Ex – “We need to work on developing a strong tomato value chain.”

Yield Mapping: A technique of using GPS data to analyze variables such as crop yield and moisture content in a given field.

Ex – “We can use the data from our yield mapping to help secure our bank loan.”

Learn more about the Agriculture industry using our Career Guide!