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Mar 15, 2010

Issue 10-06

New reports about extension methods and results. Thanks to ACDC staff associate Liz Harfull in South Australia for alerting us to papers presented at a November 2009 conference of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN). These interesting, useful papers are in the latest issue of Extension Farming Systems Journal, published by the Australasian Farm Business Management Network. A few of the topics included:

  • Extension tools preferred by growers, agronomists and consultants when searching for cropping information
  • Four discourse themes among producers and agricultural consultants concerning climate change
  • Using Web 2.0 techniques to enable practice change in Australian agriculture
  • Blogs about bugs: communicating with grains industry clients


You can read these reports, and others, here.


Taking time for non-change. With all the emphasis placed on change in agricultural science and technology, communicators may find it enlightening to think about the role and importance of non-change. We find little literature about this, so were especially interested recently in adding an article by Pascal Byé in the journal Science Technology and Society. Approaches commonly used to analyze change fall short, the author argues.

"They mask the role played by cultural heritage, organizations and representations in the progression of techniques. They minimize the fundamental role played by time. The most visible changes are often, paradoxically, the product of non-change, of permanence and of continuity."

Check with us at docctr@library.uiuc.edu if you wish to read this article.


Stronger angles on understanding consumer concerns about food and health. Studies about such concerns commonly focus on location, gender, age and other demographic factors. A research report we added recently from Australia reveals the added value of understanding food concerns and personal values.

Researchers Anthony Worsley and Emma Lea surveyed 1,000 adults to identify concerns about 20 health and food issues. Results revealed four food concerns and six personal value factors. Researchers concluded that psychographic market segmentation approaches may be stronger predictors of consumers' concerns than demographics. They recommended more use of psychographic information in communications planning that involves food and health.

Contact us at here at the Center if you wish to gain access to this research report.

Also, you can request it from the publisher here.


Add to the "safe, cheap food" narrative. That suggestion came from Professor Ed Pajor, University of Calgary ( Canada) during the 2010 Banff Pork Seminar. He said the pork industry needs to connect with a public that has growing interest in livestock production practices. The "safe, cheap food" narrative is strong, he said, and it needs to be supplemented with a narrative about "how animals are being cared for."

You can hear a SwineCast audio report of his presentation via Truffle Media Networks here.

You may notice in the title a reference to "animal husbandry," a care-oriented expression that the term "animal science" tended to replace during the past half century.


Creativity - not so rare, really. "Creative work is not as rare as had been assumed," said Raymond Gozzi, Jr., in ETC: A Review of General Semantics. "In fact, everyday life is a creative product. Everywhere we look we see people being creative, if we only have eyes to see. …When we think about our creative processes as we speak, cook, strum guitars, exercise, etc., it helps us appreciate the creativity in what we are doing and how to refocus it to other parts of our lives.

"Science is good at describing trends from past events, but creativity is about stepping outside of those trends. … Let us see [creativity] clearly wherever it appears and try to nurture it in others."

Read the commentary here.


Communicator activities approaching

April 17-21, 2010
"Between passion & pressure" 54th Annual Congress, International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) hosted by the Belgian Association of Agricultural Journalists at Ostend, Belgium.
Information: http://www.ifaj2010.org

April 21-23, 2010
"From America's Heartland to the Rest of the World." 2010 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.
Information: www.nama.org

April 26-29, 2010
XIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) in Montpellier, France. Organized by Agropolis International.
Information: http://iaald2010.agropolis.fr

May 4, 2010
Midwest Regional Design and Writing Workshop for members of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). Takes place in West Des Moines, Iowa USA.
Information: Jennifer Bremer at jbremer@hpj.com

May 5-6, 2010
"Desert Discoveries." Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Tucson, Arizona USA.
Information: http://www.toca.org

June 14-17, 2010
"Meet us in St. Louis." Annual conference of the Association of Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in St. Louis, Missouri USA.
Information: http://www.aceweb.org/meetings/ace2010.html

July 24-28, 2010
"Rolling on the River, AMS Style." Ag Media Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota USA.
Information: www.agmediasummit.com


"Sentence of the Week." We close this issue of ACDC News with an agriculture-related "Sentence of the Week" from the University of Chicago Writing Program. We feel sure none of our readers created this sentence:

A cheap industrial chemical at the heart of a massive food recall in China following its detection in infant milk powder, the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) announced that sweets containing melamine at levels of 11.25 mg/kg, 152 mg/kg and 80 mg/kg respectively had been detected on the shelves.

You can see it and other recent "Sentence of the Week" candidates here.


Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to docctr@library.uiuc.edu.

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can't gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access.