Definitions for EDEN Course



 Plant disorders caused by non-living factors, including damage caused by heat, drought, floods, lack of nutrients, or excessive fertilizers or chemicals.

Agronomic Planning:  Information gathering and decision-making processes about field inputs, pest management, and erosion control. May include activities such as documenting field histories, noting runoff characteristics, obtaining soil and water analysis data and reports on drainage, or geo-spatial mapping.

Agroterrorism: The deliberate, malicious act of a person or group against the agricultural industry and/or food supply system (i.e. processing, storage, and transportation), and may include the use of chemical or biological weapons. Possible motives for an agroterrorist attack may include, but are not limited to, ethical, religious, or spiritual beliefs; disrupting the economy; inflicting mass injury and death; and/or discrediting the reputation of the government.

Biological control:
Pest management strategy using living agents, such as insects, pathogens, and/or nematodes to combat plant diseases and other problems, including destructive insects and weeds.

Biosafety: Efforts to prevent the transmission of biologic agents to workers or halt the spread of agents to the environment. May include such measures as policies, procedures, personal protective safety, and elements of a facility’s design. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rates the transmission risk of agents through a classification system.

Biosecurity: Generally defined as efforts to prevent the acquisition and intentional misuse of biological agents. For the purpose of this course, definition also includes efforts to prevent the unintentional misuse or spread of pests, diseases, and/or agents. 

Biological Warfare: Malicious use of a biological agent with intent to cause harm to humans, crops, livestock, or property.

Biological Weapon:  Naturally-occurring, living organisms harmful to humans, plants, animals, and/or property. Includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. Most cost-effective WMD for terrorists to produce.

Chemical Weapon:
Toxic substances classified by their effect on human health, which include nerve agents, blistering agents, blood agents, choking agents, and irritating agents.

Crop Scouting: Routine health inspections of agricultural fields, nurseries, orchards, and vineyards. Focuses on the early identification of nutritional problems, disease, insects, and biosecurity problems. Once conducted manually, crop scouting now also includes the use of sensor technology and remote imaging devices. Also see Integrated Pest Management.

The Extension Disaster Education Network is a collaborative multi-state effort by Extension Services across the country to improve the delivery of services to citizens affected by disasters.

Emergency Management: Organized analysis, planning, decision-making, and assignment of available resources to mitigate (lessen the effect of or prevent) prepare for, respond to, and recover from the effects of all hazards. The goal of emergency management is to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect property and the environment if an emergency occurs. (FEMA 1995).

Explosive weapon: Devices that cause immediate massive destruction from blast and/or heat; may also be used as a means to disperse chemical, biological, or radiological agents. A dirty bomb is a radiological weapon with no nuclear reaction, dispersed by conventional explosives.

Field History:
Year-by-year documentation of inputs (e.g. seed, pesticides and fertilizer); processes (e.g. planting, terracing, or irrigating); yield(s); soil analysis; as well as detailed description of problems such as insects, diseases, and abiotic disorders.

First Detector: A person who, in the course of their duties, is in a position to notice an unusual outbreak, a pest of concern, or symptoms of a pest of concern and immediately begins diagnostic protocol. First Detectors include, but are not limited to, producers, pesticide applicators, commercial seed representatives, crop consultants, Extension and NRCS personnel, and Master Gardeners. The National Plant Diagnostic Network provides technical training for First Detectors here,

First Responder:  The government’s term for a specialist from the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) who detects and officially diagnoses a plant biosecurity pest. Should not to be confused with the same term from the emergency management profession, where the term is defined as the first trained professional to respond to an accident, disaster, or other emergency situation (e.g. fire fighter, emergency medical technician, or law enforcement officer).  

Four Phases of Plant Biosecurity Management: an ongoing, nonlinear process designed to help individuals prepare for, respond to, and recover from the discovery of plant biosecurity problem, and to mitigate the risks of a plant biosecurity event.

Global Positioning System (GPS)
: A satellite system that projects information to GPS receivers on the ground, enabling users to determine latitude and longitude coordinates. For example, agricultural producer may use a handheld GPS receiver to determine the  location of a water source next to a field.

Global Information System (GIS): Software programs that enable users to store and manipulate large amounts of data from GPS systems and other sources. For example, a producer may use a GIS system to create maps of fields that show environmentally-sensitive areas.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM):
Integrated Pest Management is a strategy that utilizes all appropriate control methods (both chemical and non-chemical) to keep pest populations below economically damaging levels while minimizing detrimental impacts to the environment.

  A multifaceted approach designed to reduce and eliminate plant biosecurity hazards and risks, thus avoiding the consequences associated with a potential hazard. Mitigation activities include documenting field histories; planting resistant varieties; monitoring/ surveillance/scouting fields; establishing visitor security measures; procuring containment supplies; and installing field sensors. 

The National Plant Diagnostic Network is a network of plant disease and pest diagnostic facilities at land grant universities across the U.S. Charged with the task of enhancing agricultural security, NPDN assures (a) an accurate and rapid diagnosis of suspected problems and (b) coordinated reporting of confirmed outbreaks

Noxious Weed: An undesirable plant that is legally mandated to be controlled for reasons including potential for vast spread and property destruction.

Nuclear weapon:  Category of WMD that releases nuclear energy. Caused by atomic nuclei reactions of nuclei with neutron and other nuclei

For the purpose of this course, living agents, such as bacteria and fungi, which cause plant diseases.

Personal Protective Equipment: Special clothing, footwear, and devices designed to protect agricultural workers’ health and safety. Examples include disposable coveralls, chemical gloves, eye goggles, and respirators.

Pest:  A weed, insect, or plant pathogen that may kill crops, reduce yields, or affect the quality of the harvest if not controlled.

Pesticide: A category of chemicals designed for controlling or eliminating pests such as plant pathogens, insects, and weeds.

Plant:  for the purpose of this course, the term refers only to plants produced for food, industrial, and fiber products, grown by agricultural producers for consumption by humans or livestock. Ornamentals, landscape stock, and forests are not covered in the scope of this course, although it is recognized that some plant diseases are transmittable to non-food producing plants.    

Plant Biosecurity Management:  For the purpose of this course, the phrase “Plant Biosecurity Management” represents a range of management activities performed by persons in the agricultural sector who are critically engaged in assuring the ongoing safety of the U.S. food supply. Agricultural producers and field workers play a key role in plant biosecurity management, as they are highly likely to be the first observers of an unusual situation or potential biosecurity problem. (There is also tremendous potential for Extension agents, conservation specialists, certified crop adjusters, seed and fertilizer suppliers, and others to discover a potential plant biosecurity problem). Management roles in plant biosecurity include (a) preparing for, (b) responding to, and (c) recovering from a plant biosecurity problem, and (d) mitigating the risks of a plant biosecurity event. The desired outcome of plant biosecurity management training: Frontline agricultural workers will take appropriate action in the event of a suspected plant biosecurity problem.

Preparedness:  Any activity that helps an individual or organization to prepare for an appropriate response to a potential biosecurity hazard or problem. Examples include but are not limited to participating in educational seminars on plant biosecurity management; creating farmstead and local/community/area biosecurity management plans; testing the system through exercises (simulation); and establishing official notification procedures between agricultural producers neighbors and Extension agents in the event a potential problem is discovered.

Prevention: Activities aimed at preventing the occurrence of an undesirable event. Should not be confused with preparedness. Also see mitigation.

: a legally-binding mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restrict land use and the movement of agricultural commodities during a confirmed plant disease outbreak. 

Radiological weapon:
Use of radioactive substances; high-energy particles or gamma rays emitted by an atom undergoing radioactive decay. A dirty bomb is a radiological weapon with no nuclear reaction, dispersed by conventional explosives.

Response:  Any action taken at any level of the government or private sector in response to the discovery of a potential plant biosecurity problem. Examples include notifying an Extension agent who may help assess a potential hazard; securing a safe, viable sample under the direction of a plant diagnostician; launching initial containment activities to halt the spread of a potential risk until an official diagnosis is made, and working with state officials in the event that a plant biosecurity problem is officially diagnosed by the proper authorities.

Recovery:  A lengthy, concerted effort to return the farmstead, local community, and agricultural sector to normal operations after the plant biosecurity event has been effectively contained and controlled. This may include clean up activities, obtaining government subsidies, and bringing the affected land back into production.

Risk Assessment: For the purpose of this course, risk assessment is narrowly defined as a producer process to identify existing threats, conditions, and practices that are potentially conducive to theft, vandalism, or a plant biosecurity event.

: The APHIS term “safeguarding” is roughly equivalent to the emergency management term “mitigation,” as the primary purpose is to decrease the likelihood of intentional and unintentional plant disease outbreaks, pest infestations, and biosecurity events in the U.S.

Sensor: As it pertains to this course, sophisticated technology which monitors air quality for foreign particles in agricultural fields.

A malicious attempt to disrupt economic well-being, undermine peoples’ confidence, and/or destroy public health and safety by means of violence and/or threats to commit acts of violence.

A carrier and transmission agent of a plant disease.

Vulnerability assessment:  A process of estimating the probability of an undesirable occurrence and the potential impact of an event on humans, property, the environment, personal income, and the economy. Includes an assessment of available internal and external resources to respond to an emergency.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs): 
agents and devices used by terrorists with intent to cause large scale destruction, and/or to inflict incapacitation, serious injury, and/or death to many people.

Last Updated:  09/02/2009